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◎Xmasプレゼント。天声人語英和対訳ファイル、2004年7月21日〜11月30日分【クエスチョンの呟きシリーズ第46回
http://www.asyura2.com/0406/it06/msg/967.html
投稿者 クエスチョン 日時 2004 年 12 月 04 日 16:10:51:WmYnAkBebEg4M
 

(回答先: カエルは不撓不屈の精神か、、、。 投稿者 クエスチョン 日時 2004 年 12 月 04 日 15:23:44)

◎Xmasプレゼント。天声人語英和対訳ファイル、2004年7月21日〜11月30日分【クエスチョンの呟きシリーズ第46回】


 冬休み前、受験生諸君に贈るクリスマス・プレゼントです。その他、おじさん諸君も暇つぶしにどうぞ。(笑)

◎小生はこれを使ってます。おじさんですけれど、バンバン英語を読みまくってガンガン英語の実力を上げています。(笑)
http://www.asyura2.com/0401/it05/msg/771.html
投稿者 クエスチョン 日時 2004 年 7 月 16 日 06:51:50:WmYnAkBebEg4M

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Shimada, a mischievous yet passionate actor


Ken Ogata, one of Japan's top screen and stage actors, started out his acting career as a member of the Shinkokugeki Theatrical Troupe. But he came close to quitting it at one time.

``I can't stand it anymore,'' he shouted at the top of his voice at a general meeting of the company. ``I didn't come here to be a servant. I want to be an actor.''

For some reason, the troupe had been unwilling to admit Ogata. Only his eager plea prevailed on it to change its mind. But life inside the company turned out to be cruel. There was little time to learn acting. Every day, he was verbally abused by fellow members, even slugged sometimes. All this is according to a book titled ``Shinkokugeki Nanajunen Eiko-no Kiroku'' (The record of Shinkokugeki's 70 glorious years).

11月28日付
■《天声人語》

 若き日の緒形拳が絶叫した。「もう我慢ができない、下男をしにきたのではないのだ、役者になりたいのだ」。押しかけて新国劇に入ったが、芝居より、罵倒(ばとう)されたり殴られたりの日々に耐えかね、総会で叫んだ。この時はクビを覚悟した緒形さんを抜擢(ばってき)してくれたのは、島田正吾さんだったという(『新国劇七十年栄光の記録』)。

Ogata was prepared to be fired for his outburst. Instead, Shogo Shimada, the company's lead actor, promoted him over many heads and assigned him an important role, the book says. By origin, Shinkokugeki (new national drama) stands for a new form of the theater that was launched by Shojiro Sawada in the Taisho Era (1912-1926).

It was shortly before the succeeding Showa Era ended in 1989 that the curtain came down on the new drama's 70-year history and the troupe formed to stage it was dissolved.

With the company gone, Shimada continued to perform solo plays. But he died at age 98 last week.

 大正時代に沢田正二郎が始めた新国劇が70年の幕を閉じて解散したのは、昭和という時代が終わる少し前だった。島田さんは、その後も一人芝居を続けてきたが、ついに98歳で逝った。

In 1995, the star of Shinkokugeki received an award commemorating Tsubouchi Shoyo (1859-1935), Japan's earliest translator of Shakespearean plays, from the city of Mino-Kamo in Gifu Prefecture where the novelist-playwright-critic was born. In his acceptance speech, Shimada said: ``Shinkokugeki may be likened to a frog that keeps jumping at a drooping willow branch no matter how many times it fails to succeed. What drives us on is the indomitable spirit of Sawada, the man who founded the genre.''

The frog reference was derived from Sawada's slogan: ``We have two masters to serve-art on the right and the masses on the left. And our flag bears a picture of a willow tree and a frog.''

 95年、岐阜県美濃加茂市の坪内逍遥大賞を受けて述べた。「新国劇の紋所は、落ちても落ちても柳に飛びつくカエルでございます。不撓(ふとう)不屈の沢田精神でございます」。カエルは、沢田の語録の「右に芸術、左に大衆、かざすマークは柳に蛙」に由来する。

When Shimada staged a solo play in 1996, he told the audience that he was hoping to perform a solo play at the age of 99. ``I have already chosen the drama to perform then, but I would like to keep secret what that drama would be.''

With his grave and serious acting, Shimada enabled the audience to experience the deepest of human sentiments. One also detected the look of a mischievous yet passionate young man.

 96年の一人芝居では、「99歳の一人芝居」を演じたいとあいさつした。演目は決めてあるが「その芝居が何であるかは、今は白状いたしません」。重厚であり、観客を人情の根本へといざなう芸風でありつつ、どこかに、いたずらっぽさと熱い心を宿す青年の面影があった。

During an interview with the actor, Yuko Hayashi, his oldest daughter, handed a deck of homemade cards to author Chieko Akiyama, who was taking notes. It was a gift the woman received from her father when she was a little girl. Shimada wrote poetic lines on the cards, one of which read: ``Yuko-chan, you are a good girl/ Always in high spirits/ You eat well, sleep well and play well.'' The account appears in ``Shibai Hitosuji'' (Devoted to acting all my life), a book published by Iwanami Shoten.

Another card read: ``I saw a shooting star/ In the dark night sky/ And I remembered that/ Yuko loved a song about a star.''

 「いつもげんきな いうこちやん よくたべよくねて よくあそぶ」。秋山ちえ子さんが島田さんから聞き書きをした時、長女林右子(ゆうこ)さんが見せた島田さん手書きのカルタの1枚である(『芝居ひとすじ』岩波書店)。「くらいみそらの ながれぼし いうこのすきな ほしのうた」

Shimada was a big and bright star. He passed away, trailing a long train.

 大きくて明るい星が、長い尾を引きながら、旅立っていった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 28(IHT/Asahi: November 30,2004)

Probe may end mysteries surrounding king


Riddles about Tutankhamen that date back about 3,300 years may be unraveled before long. Researchers are set to scrutinize the mummy of the ancient king of Egypt famous for his golden mask.

11月22日付
■《天声人語》

 約3300年前の謎がいよいよ明らかになるかもしれない。黄金のマスクで知られる古代エジプトの王ツタンカーメンのミイラが「精密検査」を受けることになった。

Many people are charmed by Tutankhamen's story of riddle and accident. Despite being the king, his name was somehow deleted from various official documents. But the deletions helped to keep his grave from the attention of treasure hunters. When it was discovered in 1922, the excavation turned up an amazing number of ancient artifacts that had been buried with the mummified body of the king.

 彼をめぐる謎と偶然に満ちた物語にひかれる人は多い。王であったのに彼の名は、なぜか様々な公式記録から削除されている。そのおかげもあって、1922年の「発見」まで墓は盗掘をまぬがれ、驚くべき副葬品の数々が温存された。

Tutankhamen's reign almost coincided with an ``incident'' that should have gone down in the history of the world. He ascended the throne just after his predecessor, Akhnaten, carried out religious reform to make Egyptians adopt the Sun God as their only god. It is said to have been the oldest monotheistic religion in the world. Tutankhamen, said to have been Akhanaten's son, died when he was about 18 years old.

 彼の治世は、世界史的な「事件」が起きたころだった。先王アケナテンが太陽神を唯一の神とする宗教改革を断行した直後である。最古の一神教の成立ともいわれる。その息子とされるツタンカーメンは、18歳前後で亡くなった。

Bob Brier, an American Egyptologist, offers an account of the young king's tragic life in ``The Murder of Tutankhamen.'' The story rests on conjecture, and imagination is necessary to fill the gaps. There is a passage that goes to this effect: ``It has taken me a long time to notice the king's attractive personal character. This is because Tutankhamen was synonymous with treasure in my head. But the present investigation has changed me. In time, I have come to feel a strong affinity toward this young man.'' (A Japanese translation has been published by Hara Shobo under the title ``Dare-ga Tutankhamen-wo Koroshita-ka,'' or ``Who killed Tutankhamen?'')

 「長年私の頭の中では、ツタンカーメンは財宝と同義になっていたため、彼の魅力に気づかなかった。ところが今回調査を進めるうちに、いつしか私はこの若者に強い親しみを感じるようになっていた」。米国のエジプト学者ボブ・ブライアー氏は述べる(『誰がツタンカーメンを殺したか』原書房)。悲劇的な一生を推測と想像も交えながら追っている。

Akhnaten's death touched off a strong backlash against his religious reform. His opponents did not allow the monotheistic religion to linger and it was abolished with the king's death. The succession to the throne was marred by confusion and a power struggle, and Tutankhamen found himself in the middle of it. Brier thinks the young king's involvement in the power struggle cost his life by provoking someone to send assassins.

 アケナテンの死後、宗教改革への強力な揺り戻しがあり、一神教は一代で終わった。その混乱と権力闘争のさなかにツタンカーメンは生きた。若き王の死は権力闘争に巻き込まれた末の暗殺だった、とブライアー氏はみている。

A joint research team from Egypt and the United States reportedly plans to conduct X-ray and DNA checks in its scrutiny of the Tutankhamen mummy. People are waiting to see how far the team will go in ferreting out stories and historical facts concealed behind the king's golden mask.

 今度のミイラ精査では、エジプトと米国の研究チームが合同でエックス線やDNA検査で解明を進めるそうだ。黄金のマスクの裏に隠された物語や史実がどこまで明かされるか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 22(IHT/Asahi: November 29,2004)

Wintry gusts chaperon the Days of the Rooster


A haiku by Hakyo Ishida goes: ``It's the Ni-no-Tori festival/ More and more trees are shedding their dead leaves/ In Soshigaya.'' This year's Ni-no-Tori festival was held recently, and Tokyo had its first wintry gusts of autumn. Fallen leaves swirled not only in the woody Soshigaya district, but all over town.

11月26日付
■《天声人語》

 〈二の酉やいよいよ枯るる雑司ケ谷 石田波郷〉。先日の二の酉(とり)の頃、東京では木枯らし1号が吹いた。樹木の多い雑司ケ谷に限らず、街中で、さかんに枯れ葉が舞う。

In central Tokyo's Hibiya Park, zelkova and gingko trees in Kyodo no Mori (hometown forest) were shedding their leaves profusely. The inner-city forest is home to trees from all over the country. A tree from each of Japan's major cities and all of its prefectures have been planted there. A ryukyuu matsu (Ryukyu pine) represents Okinawa. There is also a spruce from Hokkaido.

 日比谷公園の「郷土の森」にも、ケヤキやイチョウが散り敷いている。全国の都道府県や指定市から寄贈された木を植えた一角だ。沖縄のリュウキュウマツから北海道のエゾマツまで、1本ずつ立っている。

A busy trunk road runs through the government office district that adjoins the park, choking the trees with exhaust fumes. It must be tough for the trees to live in this alien environment that affords neither the clean air nor the climate of their places of origin. Aomori's hinoki cypress is said to have died last year.

 官庁街の幹線道路の近くで、排出ガスをかぶる。郷里の清浄な空気や気候とは随分違う環境の中で生きるのは、なかなか骨だろう。去年は青森のヒバが枯れたという。

Thinking of the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake, I looked especially for the tree representing Niigata Prefecture and found a 2-meter-tall snow camellia. The leaves were a glossy dark green and looked healthy. In the foliage were perhaps more than 100 buds the size of my fingertip. In the snow country, camellias are a harbinger of spring. Leaves of the zelkova from neighboring Fukushima Prefecture fell gently on the Niigata tree.

 地震のことを思いながら新潟の木を探すと、高さ2メートルほどのユキツバキだった。葉は緑が濃く、つややかで元気そうだ。葉の間に、小指の先ほどのつぼみが見える。百個以上はありそうだ。雪国に春を告げるというツバキに、隣の福島のケヤキが、そっと散りかかっていた。

A haiku by Masaoka Shiki goes: ``It gets kind of lonesome/ Around the San-no-Tori.'' According to tradition, any year in which the Day of the Rooster recurs three times in November is said to have more fires than any other. This year, the San-no-Tori (third Day of the Rooster) is on Nov. 26. The autumn streets will be filled with people bringing home their kumade good luck rakes from the Tori-no-Ichi festival.

The mercury should soon start dipping in line with the arrival of winter. After this year's brutal summer, I am worried about what the season may bring.

 〈世の中も淋しくなりぬ三の酉 子規〉。三の酉まである年は火事が多いなどともいうが、今日が三の酉である。枯れ葉の街に、熊手が行き交うことだろう。これからは気温が下がり、冬の気配が感じられるようになるはずだが、夏の力が異様に強かったのが気がかりだ。

Mantaro Kubota's ``San-no-Tori,'' published by Kodansha, is a short story that brings out the subtle differences in emotion between a man and a woman through their casual banter.

``Shall we go together next year?'' asks the man. ``Where?'' the woman says. ``The town of the Tori-no-Ichi festival,'' the man replies.

But the woman dies before the festival. The story ends with this haiku: ``High in the sky/ pitiful is the moon/ on the night of the San-no-Tori.''

 ――来年は、一つ、一しょに行こうか。――どこへ? ――酉のまちへさ……。軽妙な会話に乗せて男女の機微を描いた久保田万太郎の短編「三の酉」(講談社文芸文庫)の一節である。しかし、女は翌年の酉の市が来るのを待たずに他界する。末尾に、一句が置かれている。たかだかとあはれは三の酉の月。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 26(IHT/Asahi: November 27,2004)

Tragedy of war keeps cheapening human life


In video footage taken by Kevin Sites, a freelance war reporter embedded with a Marine unit in Fallujah, an American soldier shoots an Iraqi, shouting, ``He's (expletive) faking dead-he's faking he's (expletive) dead.''

The Iraqi had been disarmed and treated for his wounds the day before by a different Marine unit.

11月25日付
■《天声人語》

 米兵から治療を受けたイラク人を、翌日は別の米兵が射殺する。「こいつ、死んだふりをしている」と叫び、イラク人を撃つ場面が撮影されたという。

Investigating the incident, the Marines explained that guerrillas sometimes wrap bombs around their bodies and play dead to lure and attack enemy soldiers.

In battle, to be sure, unthinkable things do happen. As for this particular Iraqi, however, Sites notes in his Web blog, ``Aside from breathing, I did not observe any movement at all.''

 「体に爆弾を巻き付けたゲリラが、死んだふりをして兵士をおびき寄せ攻撃することがある」。このファルージャでの事件を捜査する米海兵隊側はこう述べた。想像できないようなことも戦場では起きるだろう。しかし撮影したフリーランスの記者は「イラク人は呼吸以外、どんな動きもしていなかった」と記している。

Shohei Ooka, a novelist and critic, says in his book ``Horyoki'' (A POW's note) that while he was on the Filipino island of Mindoro during the Pacific War, he sighted an American soldier but did not shoot him.

``I do not believe it was any love of humanity that stopped me from shooting him. What I do believe is that when I saw that young soldier, I felt an attachment to him for reasons that were purely personal, and I just did not feel like shooting him.''

 太平洋戦争中のフィリピン・ミンドロ島で、米兵を発見しながら撃たなかったことを、大岡昇平は「俘虜記」に書いた。「人類愛から射たなかつたことを私は信じない。しかし私がこの若い兵士を見て、私の個人的理由によつて彼を愛着したために、射ちたくないと感じたことはこれを信じる」

The book has a subtitle that is actually a line from the holy priest Shinran's teachings in ``Tannisho'': ``It is not because my heart is pure that I do not kill.''

According to Yoshimitsu Kasahara, a scholar of the history of religious thought, what Ooka wanted to say was that his conscience had no part in his decision not to kill the American soldier.

Kasahara observes in his book ``Heieki Kyohi'' (Refusing military service) published by Seikyusha: ``The significance of this novel (by Ooka) lies in the fact that it tells you how little something like conscience or love of humanity means on a battlefield.''

 「俘虜記」の表題には歎異抄の「わがこゝろのよくてころさぬにはあらず」という一節が添えられている。宗教思想史の笠原芳光さんは、殺さなかったのは、良心からではないと言いたかったのだろうと論じている。「この小説はむしろ良心や人類愛というものが戦場では無力なものであるということを知らせてくれたことに意味を持っている」(『兵役拒否』青弓社)

I recently read a newspaper article about an American soldier who fled to Canada because he refused to be shipped out to Iraq. He had enlisted three years ago, but could never get used to being trained to kill. ``So long as I recognize the other person as a human being, I just can't kill.''

 イラクへの従軍を拒否してカナダへ逃れた米兵の記事が載った。3年前に志願したが、訓練で「殺せ!」とたたき込まれ、違和感を覚える。「相手を人間だと思う限り、殺せない」

As if to keep driving people to their limits and cheapen life, tragedies of war continue.

 人間を追いつめ、命をもてあそぶかのように戦場の惨事が続いている。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 25(IHT/Asahi: November 26,2004)

Life is tough with `dear leader' always around


One outstanding aspect of Josef Stalin's character was that trusting anyone was simply inconceivable for the Soviet dictator. He was gifted with an exceptional ability to conceal his thoughts not just from the enemy but also from those loyal to himself.

Not knowing what he wanted, aides trembled with fear as they followed his orders. Those who bungled something or were perceived to have bungled were ruthlessly imprisoned or executed.

11月24日付
■《天声人語》

 人を信用する。その男にとってありえないことだった。自分の考えを敵だけでなく、味方にも悟られない能力に長(た)けていた。まわりの人は不安にふるえながら彼に従い、何かへまをすると、あるいはへまをしたとみなされると、「排除」された。

Adolf Hitler was a different kind of dictator in many ways. To give just an example, he trusted his loyal aides, whereas these were the people Stalin was most suspicious of.

 かつてのソ連の独裁者スターリンの一面だが、同じ独裁者でもヒトラーとの違いは多々ある。たとえば、自分に忠誠を尽くす側近には信を置いていたヒトラーに対し、スターリンは側近に最も疑いを抱いた。

The Nazi dictator consolidated his power by making rabble-rousing speeches. Stalin had no need for such talent. He could get his way by addressing closed-door meetings of Communist Party cadres or manipulating a small group of top-level officials. His instinct was to shun direct contact with people. Still, he needed to make sure that the public would see him as the legitimate successor to Vladimir Lenin.

 ヒトラーは大衆に直接訴える演説で権力を固めたが、スターリンはその才能も必要もなかった。閉じられた党の集会で演説するか、限られた幹部を操縦することで事足りた。むしろ人々とじかに接触することを避けた。ただ自分がレーニンの正統の継承者であることを国民に実感させる必要はあった。

The coining of Stalin medals and the production of the dictator's portraits began around 1933. Soon, Stalin's portraits were put up on walls everywhere in the Soviet Union--at schools, public offices, factories, mines and collective farms, Alan Bullock says in his book ``Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives.'' (A Japanese translation has been published by Soshisha.) On important memorial days, Bullock goes on to say, exaggerated tributes were invariably paid to ``Our Most Beloved Leader.''

 1933年ころからメダルが鋳造され、肖像画が制作され「ほどなく、ソ連のすべての学校、役所、工場、鉱山、そして集団農場の壁にスターリンの肖像画が掲げられ、重要な記念日ともなればかならず『われらが最愛の指導者』に向けて大仰な敬意」が捧(ささ)げられた(A・ブロック『ヒトラーとスターリン』草思社)。

The book shows that the ubiquity of portraits was needed even by the reclusive dictator. This reminds me of a lesson history holds out: Life is almost always hard for people in a country where the face of its leader is on view everywhere.

 引きこもり型の独裁者にとっても肖像画は必要だった。そして歴史が教えるのは、「指導者の顔」がいたるところにあふれる国に暮らす人々は、苦難の道を歩んでいることが多い、ということだ。

Some of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's portraits have reportedly been removed. Is this a move inspired by the lessons of world history?

 北朝鮮で「指導者の顔」が一部撤去されたという報があった。はたして世界史の教訓をくみとったうえの動きなのかどうか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 24(IHT/Asahi: November 25,2004)

Carnations tokens of a survivor's resilience


Man Arai, a novelist born in Niigata Prefecture, sent 1,000 carnations as well as a monetary donation to survivors of the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake. I would guess that flowers are not exactly everyone's idea of the perfect gift in a situation like this.

11月23日付
■《天声人語》

 被災地へのお見舞いとしては異色かもしれない。新潟県出身の作家新井満さんが地震に襲われた故郷の人たちに、義援金とは別にカーネーション千本を贈った。

Arai got his idea from something he learned in 1995 in the immediate aftermath of the Great Hanshin Earthquake. Arai knew someone who had brought to survivors as many bottles of water as he could gather. He also brought along tulips.

Most survivors accepted the bottled water without much emotion, but their faces changed when they saw the tulips. Some smiled. Others wept. Their reactions came in many forms.

 阪神大震災のときの見聞から思いついた。知人が、買えるだけのペットボトルの水とともにチューリップを携えて現地入りした。水を受け取る被災者はどちらかといえば無表情だった。チューリップを見ると表情が変わった。ほほえむ人、涙を流す人、いろいろだったという。

``For those people, I think the tulips represented life,'' Arai recalled. Quake survivors invariably have thoughts about those who have died in addition to themselves. Some people become depressed.

``When you are going through such a dire situation,'' Arai continued, ``seeing the life in a fragile little flower can be deeply moving. Some people may well recover their hope for life (after receiving a flower). I would be happy if my carnations could bring about something like that.''

 「いのち、ということだと思うのです」と新井さんは言う。犠牲になった人々のことや生き延びた自分のことを皆考えている。落ち込んでいる人もいるだろう。そんなとき「けなげに咲いている小さないのちを見てはっとする。生きる希望が新たにわいてくるかもしれない。そうしたきっかけになってくれれば嬉(うれ)しい」

Arai was a third-year senior high school student when the Niigata Earthquake of 1964 struck. In his classroom, red and white chalk flew in the air, shards of glass showered from the windows and soon, the entire school building collapsed. The nearby Showa Ohashi bridge over the Shinanogawa river also fell apart. Arai's home was completely destroyed. It was an experience ``I don't want to recall even now,'' he noted.

 新井さんは高校3年のとき新潟地震を経験した。教室では赤白のチョークが宙を飛び、無数のガラス片が降り注ぎ、校舎は壊れた。信濃川にかかる近くの昭和大橋も崩落した。自宅も全壊だった。「いまも思い出したくない」経験だ。

Shortly after he entered university, he became gravely ill and hovered between life and death.

``I believe my illness was a delayed reaction to the quake, an aftereffect of sorts,'' he said. ``As a survivor, I know things will get tougher for the survivors of the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake after their immediate shock eases and the rest of the world begins to lose interest in their tragedy.''

 大学に入ってすぐ、大病を患い生死の境をさまよった。「遅れてやってきた地震の後遺症だと思う」。被災者としての経験から、こんどの地震についても「これからが大変だと思う。緊張が緩み、世の中の関心も薄れていくこれからです」

The carnations he sent were grown in the town of Nanae in Hokkaido. The growers are just starting to recover from the damage wrought by Typhoon No. 18. Arai hoped that the flowers would bring together the hearts of people from two disaster-hit areas.

 贈ったカーネーションは北海道の七飯(ななえ)町で栽培された。栽培農家は台風18号で被害を受け、ようやく立ち直ったところだ。二つの被災地を結ぶ思いも込められる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 23(IHT/Asahi: November 24,2004)

No moss has gathered on `Like a Rolling Stone'


The Japanese proverb about a rolling stone is a direct translation of what people say in English: ``A rolling stone gathers no moss.''

It apparently has two meanings. In one sense, the proverb warns that if you keep changing your dwelling place and your job, you will not gain assets and social status.

The other one is that anything or anyone that keeps on the move never becomes outmoded.

11月20日付
■《天声人語》

 「転石苔(こけ)を生ぜず」ということわざがある。「転がっている石(rolling stone)には苔が生えない」という英語から来ており、二通りの意味を持つようになったと辞典にある。「転居や転職を重ねていると財産も地位も身につかない」と「常に活動しているものはいつまでも古くならない」

To those who read a recent issue of an American music magazine, it must have seemed like all about such rolling stones.

Bob Dylan's ``Like a Rolling Stone'' was ranked at the top of Rolling Stone magazine's ``500 greatest songs of all time,'' and the Rolling Stones' ``Satisfaction'' was ranked second.

The editors apparently made the choices by personal preference. Both remind one of the 1960s.

 米国の音楽誌上で「転石」の絡み合いがあった。「ローリング・ストーン」誌が載せた「史上最も偉大な500曲」で、ボブ・ディランの「ライク・ア・ローリング・ストーン」が1位に、ローリング・ストーンズの「サティスファクション」が2位になった。選んだ側の好みも出たのだろうが、60年代を思い起こさせる曲である。

``Rolling Stone Fuun Roku'' (An account of Rolling Stone magazine's ups and downs) was published by Hayakawa Shobo.

According to the book, the famous lyrics of three songs were beamed around the world by radio waves in the middle of the 1960s. These lyrics included: ``All the lonely people,'' which came from the Beatles' ``Eleanor Rigby,'' ``How does it feel?'' from Dylan's ``Like a Rolling Stone,'' and ``(I can't get no) satisfaction!'' from the Rolling Stones' ``Satisfaction.''

 この「転石」誌の来歴を描く『ローリング・ストーン風雲録』(早川書房)に、60年代半ば、3曲の最も有名な歌詞が電波に乗って飛び交ったとある。すべての孤独な人々(All the lonely people)。どんな気持ちだい?(How does it feel?)全然満足できないよ!(I can’t get no〈satisfaction〉!)

 最初がビートルズの「エリナ・リグビー」、次はディランの「ライク・ア……」、最後が「サティスファクション」の一節だ。

About 20 years after the end of World War II, a huge mass of the baby boomers was approaching adulthood in the 1960s.

It was an age in which the challenge for young people was whether to accept or revolt against the existing order.

Dylan, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones sang about this age, using lyrics and rhythms that resonated deep in the hearts of the young people.

 大戦終結からざっと20年、戦後育ちが巨大なかたまりになって大人になりつつあった。既成秩序への反抗と受容が問われた時代を、彼らは心の奥に響く言葉と旋律で歌った。

Their songs still do not get outmoded, like a stone that keeps rolling somewhere now.

 それは、今もなお、どこかで転がり続ける石のようで、古びることがない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 20(IHT/Asahi: November 23,2004)

The colorful worlds of Matisse and Picasso


French painter Henri Matisse is said to have repeatedly commented along these lines: ``Paintings should give a kind of sensual pleasure to those who look at them. I draw paintings with the idea of making armchairs that put people at rest in a profound way.''

I had forgotten those words until I recently visited the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo's Ueno district for the ``Henri Matisse: Process and Variation'' exhibition. His words were running through my mind as I toured the show, which runs through Dec. 12.

11月14日付
■《天声人語》

 「絵を見る人には、ある種の逸楽的感動を覚えてほしい。私の絵は、深い安らぎを与える『肘掛(ひじか)け椅子(いす)』でありたい」。マチスは、こんな意味のことを言っていたそうだ。東京・上野の国立西洋美術館の「マティス展」(12月12日まで)で、久しぶりに、この言葉をかみしめた。

While I was in Paris, I visited the artist's apartment-cum-studio on the Seine. From the window, I saw sightseeing boats cruising along the river. The famed Notre Dame towered on the other side. A resident at that time said, ``The place was most characteristic of Paris, although I must admit that noise emanating from subway construction nearby was a drawback.''

Matisse captured the same view on a canvas 100 years ago, and the work is on display at the current exhibition.

 マチスのアトリエがあったパリ・セーヌ川べりのアパートを訪ねたことがある。窓から川の方を見ると、観光船が行き交い、対岸にはノートルダム寺院が見える。当時の住人は「最もパリらしい場所です。地下鉄工事がうるさいのが難点だが」と言っていた。この構図で100年前に描かれた絵が、今回展示されている。

As I toured the show, I sensed the painter's effort to express the dynamism of life and sensual pleasure from boldly executed portraits of people using the vivid colors that came to characterize his works. For a while, I indulged in the sensual pleasure of the armchair.

 会場を巡る。大胆で際立った人物像や鮮やかな色づかいに、生の躍動と官能の気配を感じる。しばらく、肘掛け椅子の逸楽にひたった。

A parallel exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Tokyo offers a chance to see the works of Pablo Picasso, who shares with Matisse the honor of having been one of the greatest painters of the 20th century. (The museum is in Tokyo's Koto Ward, and the show also runs through Dec. 12.)

My visit left me intoxicated with a riot of freely and radically executed shapes and explosive colors, as is always the case when I view paintings by Picasso.

The show's theme is ``The Body and Eros,'' which indicates that it is about the high drama between the sexes.

 マチスと共に20世紀美術を代表するピカソの「ピカソ展」も開かれている(東京都現代美術館=江東区 12月12日まで)。いつもながら、奔放で過激な形と色の祝祭に酔いそうである。テーマは「躰(からだ)とエロス」で、男女の激しいドラマが迫ってくる。

What did Matisse and Picasso think of each other?

Before World War II, Western-style painter Riichiro Kawashima put the question to them separately. Speaking of Matisse, Picasso said, ``He is a stylish man and draw beautiful paintings. He is a good man of sense.'' Matisse said of Picasso, ``He is whimsical, and there is no telling what he will do. But he is a man who can understand things where he has to.'' The account appears in Kawashima's book ``Tabibito-no Me'' (The eyes of a traveler), published by Ryuseikaku.

 洋画家・川島理一郎は戦前、このふたりが互いにどう思っているのかを、別々に聞いた。「あの人はハイカラで美しい絵を描くなかなか話せる人だよ」とピカソが言い、「気まぐれで何をしでかすかわからぬ、然しあれは物の判る人だよ」とマチスは言った(『旅人の眼』龍星閣)。

It is 50 years since Matisse's death and 31 years since Picasso's. Thanks to the two exhibitions, I could appreciate the rich fruits of the labor of these artistic giants as I imagined what a conversation between the two might have entailed.

 マチスが没して50年、ピカソが逝って31年になる。両巨匠の豊かな果実を、ふたりの間の会話も想像しながら味わった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 14(IHT/Asahi: November 22,2004)

Where are Japan's deserving lawmakers?


The current Diet building was built in 1936, the year of the so-called 2.26 Incident, a rebellion led by young military officers of the imperial army. Yukio Ozaki, who spent six decades of his life as a Diet member and was revered as ``the champion of constitutional government,'' wrote a tanka that asked: How many generations will it be before this magnificent Diet building is filled with deserving legislators?

11月19日付
■《天声人語》

 今の国会議事堂は、二・二六事件の起きた1936年、昭和11年にできた。国会議員を60年余務め、憲政の神様と呼ばれた尾崎行雄が詠んでいる。〈美事なる此議事堂にふさはしき議員を得るハ何時の代ならむ〉

This tanka is on display in the Ozaki Memorial Hall of the Parliamentary Museum, which is located at the front of the Diet building. The museum showcases the history of the constitutional government and explains how the Diet is organized and run.

 そう書かれた色紙が、国会前にある憲政記念館の「尾崎メモリアルホール」に掲げられている。国会の組織、運営や憲政の歴史などを展示する記念館の一室だ。

On Wednesday, Kanezo Muraoka, a former Liberal Democratic Party member of the Lower House, attended a gathering arranged by Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) at the Parliamentary Museum.

Speaking of the political donation scandal in which the LDP's former Hashimoto faction failed to report a 100 million yen donation from the Japan Dentists Federation, the lobbying arm of the Japan Dental Association-for which Muraoka was charged with a violation of the Political Funds Control Law-Muraoka asserted he was ``framed'' and flatly denied all charges.

 記念館で民主党が開いた集会に、村岡兼造・元自民党衆院議員が出席し、「ぬれぎぬだ」と述べた。村岡氏は、日本歯科医師連盟から自民党旧橋本派への1億円献金隠し事件で、政治資金規正法違反(不記載)の罪で在宅起訴されている。その容疑を全面否定した。

He told the gathering: ``I want to prove my innocence. The public will not trust politics unless the important issue of `money and politics' is settled.''

But rather than prove his innocence, his spiel only deepened the mystery.

On the matter of money and politics, however, I am fully with Muraoka.

The former head of the LDP faction concerned is former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto. He has not even attempted to offer an explanation to the public. This is an anomaly, to say the least. But just as peculiar is the silence of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi who, as the LDP president, is responsible for all party affairs. The public's loss of faith in politics may well deepen.

 「身の潔白を証明したい。『政治とカネ』は大事な問題で、解決しないと国民が政治を信用しない」とも述べた。潔白が証明されたわけではなく謎は深まった。しかし「政治とカネ」のくだりは、その通りだと思う。派閥の長だった元首相から国民への説明が無いのも変だが、党全体の責任をもつ総裁・首相の沈黙も異様だ。信用は更に揺らぎかねない。

In a draft constitutional revision plan recently revealed by the LDP's Research Commission on the Constitution, there is a section on the enactment of a political party law. The panel says, ``Each political party must fully appreciate its role in parliamentary democracy and devote itself to the healthy development of parliamentary democracy.''

This is axiomatic. Rather than try to rewrite the Constitution, LDP lawmakers should first humbly reflect on their own failure to live up to their role.

 自民党の憲法調査会の改憲素案が明らかになったが、中に「政党法の制定」との項がある。「政党は、議会制民主政治における自らの役割を深く自覚し、その健全な発展に努めなければならない……」。憲法の作り替えよりも、この自明な責務がなぜ果たせないのかを省みる方が先ではないか。

Fifty years have passed since Ozaki's death. Has our era produced ``deserving'' lawmakers? It is highly dubious.

 尾崎翁が没して50年たった。この時代は、「ふさはしき議員」を得たのだろうか。はなはだ、心もとない。

-The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 19(IHT/Asahi: November 20,2004)

Clever misnomers fail as `food for the soul'


The Japanese adjective ``tennen'' means ``natural,'' and the word often implies beauty and rare value.

When landslides triggered by the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake formed dams in the Chuetsu region, these were initially referred to as ``tennen damu'' (natural dams) in the sense that they were products of a natural disaster. But people soon started complaining that there was nothing beautiful or precious about such dams, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport agreed.

11月13日付
■《天声人語》

 「天然ダム」の「天然」には美しく貴重といった意味合いがあって、悲惨な災害現場の表現としてふさわしくない。そんな意見もあり、新潟県中越地震の被災地の形容としてはひかえたい、と国土交通省が言っている。

For people in the quake-devastated area, obviously the sight is far too horrifying to be ever described by any euphemistic qualifier.

The ministry adopted the alternative term ``kado heisoku''-literally, ``waterway blockage.'' This, however, is an unfamiliar expression that hardly evokes any realistic image of the disaster.

While respecting the feelings of quake survivors, I wonder what would be a better alternative.

 地元の人から見れば、おぞましい光景で、「天然」という言葉がうわついて聞こえるのはもっともだろう。かわりの「河道閉塞(かどうへいそく)」という言葉にはなじみが薄く、現場をありありと伝えない弱さもある。被災者たちの思いを尊重しつつ何か適当な言葉はないか、と思案する。

Three years from now, ``hoshi taiken katsudo,'' or community service activities, will be compulsory for students at Tokyo metropolitan senior high schools. The Chinese characters in ``hoshi'' denote ``to revere and serve.'' As such, the word traditionally implied a rigid pecking order, by which people were expected to serve their ``superiors''-their lords and masters.

Some people may read an ennobling and beautiful spirit into the concept. Others may dislike it as an incentive for forced servitude. I feel there ought to be a better alternative that does not remind us of a wretched time in history.

 東京の都立高校では3年後から「奉仕体験活動」が必修科目になる。「奉仕」は、奉り、仕える。古来、上下関係を前提に主君や師に尽くすことを意味してきた。美しい言葉と思う人もいるかもしれないが、おしつけがましいと感じる人もいるだろう。歴史の澱(おり)を感じさせない言葉がないものか。

The so-called Far East clause has re-emerged in connection with the global transformation of U.S. forces. How to define the Far East is certainly fundamental to any argument concerning the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. That aside, however, some people question the very concept of the Far East as that which is valid only when the map of the world is seen from the West. I agree this is an expression that perpetuates a distorted perception of history.

 米軍再編をめぐり「極東条項」が再浮上してきた。「極東」の範囲は日米安保条約の根幹にかかわる議論だが、議論とは別に「極東」という言葉に違和感を抱く人もいるだろう。西洋から眺めた方角でしかないのに、と。歴史のひずみを引きずる言葉だ。

Asked to define a ``noncombat zone,'' Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi replied, ``Any place where the Self-Defense Forces are at work is a noncombat zone.'' Koizumi later congratulated himself for his ``good answer.''

I say it was rhetorical rubbish. It makes me want to quote Socrates, who denounced the Sophists for engaging in idle argumentation and peddling out ``food for the soul.'' Self-praise was also their telltale habit, and Socrates warned of its danger.

 非戦闘地域の定義について首相が「自衛隊が活動している地域は非戦闘地域だ」と答え、あとで「良い答弁だった」と自賛した。詭弁(きべん)と強弁である。言葉をもてあそぶ詭弁学派を「魂の糧食」を切り売りしていると批判したソクラテスを引きたくなる。自賛も彼らの特徴で、その危険さも語った。

Some words inspire and guide people. Others only perplex and lead people astray.

 人を導く言葉もあれば、迷わせ、惑わす言葉もある。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 13(IHT/Asahi: November 19,2004)

The sad loss of a `dove surrounded by hawks'


Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger famously quipped: ``There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.'' An observation like this could have been made only by someone who spent his term as America's top diplomat trotting around the world to mediate regional conflicts.

11月17日付
■《天声人語》

 「来週には危機はありえない。私の予定はもういっぱいだから」。キッシンジャー元米国務長官の有名な言葉だ。世界中を駆けめぐり、調停役として奮闘した彼ならではのせりふだろう。

Numerous memorable remarks left by Colin Powell, the departing secretary of state, are of a different kind. What makes them quotable is that they ring true for everyone. For example, the first of ``Powell's Rules'' says: ``It ain't as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.''

 パウエル米国務長官には、彼ならではというよりは、誰もが思いあたるような「名言」がいろいろある。たとえば「何事も思っているほどは悪くない。朝になれば状況はよくなっている」

Obviously, Powell does not mean that the situation will improve while you are asleep. What he means is that the world will look different when you wake up with a clear head in the morning. You have the strength to face up to what seemed an insurmountable difficulty the previous night. So you have to take him as counseling optimism in the face of difficult circumstances.

 眠っている間に、いつのまにか状況が好転するということではないだろう。朝、気分よく目覚めると、少し世界が違って見える。前夜には困難だと思えたことにも、立ち向かう力がわく。そんな楽観主義の勧めだ。

Kissinger hit the mark when he said: ``The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose.'' This statement reflects his detached analysis of contemporary warfare as a specialist of international politics.

Powell was convinced that the United States must not take any military action without a clear objective that would only result in squandering the courage of men and their lives. One may see his military career in this crisp way of expressing his belief.

 キッシンジャー氏にはこんな名言もある。「伝統的な軍隊は勝たなければ負けである。ゲリラは負けなければ勝ちである」。国際政治の専門家らしく、冷徹に現代戦を見ている。パウエル氏の持論は「明快な目的もないのに勇気や命を浪費してはいけない」。軍人出身らしい歯切れのいい物言いだ。

Unfortunately, it seems that within the Bush administration, Powell has not been given the freedom to operate as a hustling secretary of state like Kissinger. He believed in working with allies.

While most of the allies valued his multilateral approach, he was viewed sympathetically as ``a dove surrounded by hawks.'' Some of his critics said there was a limit to his getting his way as he had ``the reputation of the `dutiful soldier' who carried out the president's orders even when disagreeing,'' as a British newspaper put it.

 残念ながら、ブッシュ政権でのパウエル氏は、キッシンジャー氏のようには縦横の活躍の場を与えられなかったようだ。彼の国際協調主義は「タカに囲まれたハト」と評価、同情もされたが、一方で「大統領に忠実な一兵卒」と限界を指摘する声もあった。

Writing in an American paper, Kissinger warned the Bush administration about its second-term policies as a Republican supporter and said: ``Unilateralism for its own sake is self-defeating.''

We cannot say to that country: ``Go ahead as you please. Take the path of self-destruction.''

So the question is how to apply the brakes on the Bush administration after Powell's departure.

 米紙でキッシンジャー氏が2期目のブッシュ政権に、共和党支持者として警告を発していた。「単独行動主義は自滅をもたらす」と。あの国に「どうぞ、自滅の道をご勝手に」とはいえない。パウエル氏退場後の政権にいかに歯止めをかけるか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 17(IHT/Asahi: November 18,2004)

A day frozen in time for the Yokota family


On Nov. 15, 1977, many people must have watched the final games of the women's volleyball World Cup on television. Japan beat South Korea. I imagine the topic of family conversation in some households was how good it was that Japan could still do so well in this sport.

11月16日付
■《天声人語》

 その日、ワールドカップバレーボール大会女子最終日をテレビ観戦した人も多かったのではないか。日本が韓国に勝って優勝し、やはり日本は強かった、と弾む会話をした家族もいるだろう。

Also on that day, the Diet debated on a wining-and-dining scam, in which officials of an offshoot organ of the then-Construction Ministry were found to have been lavishly entertaining members of the Board of Audit. The yen registered a record high of 245 yen against the U.S. dollar. A vegetable glut from continued fine weather caused the prices of vegetables to plummet, much to the distress of farmers.

For classical music fans, probably the most exciting highlight of that day was that Herbert von Karajan was in Japan to conduct a performance by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. On the streets, the popular hit song ``Tsugaru Kaikyo Fuyugeshiki'' (Winter scene on the Tsugaru Strait) was heard everywhere.

 1977年11月15日のことである。国会では、建設省出先機関の会計検査院への宴会ぜめが追及されていた。円は1ドル245円の最高値を記録した。好天つづきで野菜が暴落、農家は嘆きの声をあげていた。音楽ファンには、ベルリンフィルを率いてのカラヤン来日が関心の的だったかもしれない。街には「津軽海峡・冬景色」が流れていた。

A little after 8 a.m. that day, Sakie Yokota told her daughter, Megumi, ``Perhaps you should wear your winter coat today.'' The first-year junior high school girl seemed uncertain whether she should follow her mother's advice, but replied firmly, ``I think I'm OK without it. See you later.'' And she headed for her school. The day's lowest temperature in the city of Niigata was 7.6 degrees.

 その日午前8時すぎ、「コートを着ていったら」と声をかけた母の横田早紀江さんに、少し迷いながらも中学1年のめぐみさんは「もういいわ、今日は……。行ってきまーす」と出ていった。新潟市の最低気温は7・6度だった。

It was just an ordinary morning. The day passed without any incident, and under normal circumstances, the Yokota family would have forgotten the day eventually.

But Megumi did not come home. For the Yokotas, it became the day they would never be able to forget. It was the day time stood still forever-or so the Yokotas must have felt since.

 いつものような朝だった。なだらかに時は流れ、そのまま忘れ去られてしまうかもしれない一日だった。しかし、めぐみさんは帰ってこなかった。忘れようにも忘れられない一日になってしまった。それどころか横田さん一家にとっては、以来、時間が止まった。そんな心境だろう。

On that day, exactly 27 years later, Japanese government representatives returned to Tokyo with ``materials'' concerning missing abductees, having completed their working-level talks with their North Korean counterparts in Pyongyang. Among the materials brought back are ashes that are said to Megumi's.

I pray fervently that this is not true. But all the same, what a cruel day it was.

 27年後の15日、北朝鮮との実務者協議を終えた日本政府代表団が拉致被害者に関する資料を携えて帰国した。めぐみさんの遺骨とされるものも含まれる。間違いであることを念じつつ、それにしても何と酷薄な一日か、との思いが強い。

Nothing can be done to retrieve the months and years that have remained frozen in time since the day of the abduction. But everything must be done to bring back people and items that can still be brought back.

 拉致以来の凍結した歳月を取り戻すことはできない。しかしなお取り戻すことのできる人やものは取り戻さねば。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 16(IHT/Asahi: November 17,2004)

After quake, snow season comes to Niigata


Ryotaro Shiba began his historical novel ``Toge'' (Mountain pass) in this way: ``Snow is coming. The snow season is just around the corner. In about 10 days, winter clouds will come from over the north sea and bury the fields and mountains of Nagaoka in Echigo province (present-day Niigata Prefecture) under banks of snow.''

He went on to describe how people scrambled to prepare for the onset of snowfall in Nagaoka. It was then the domain of the feudal lord of the Nagaoka clan. (The novel is included in Shiba's complete works, published by Bungei Shunju.)

11月15日付
■《天声人語》

 「雪が来る。もうそこまできている。あと十日もすれば北海から冬の雲がおし渡ってきて、この越後(えちご)長岡の野も山も雪でうずめてしまうにちがいない」。長岡藩を舞台にした小説「峠」は、城下の冬支度の描写から始まる(『司馬遼太郎全集』文芸春秋)。

The approaching snow season is now even more a source of concern for the quake-stricken areas in Niigata. I really hope reconstruction efforts are sped up to meet the new threat.

Meanwhile, it is comforting to hear some experts say that the violently jolted houses ended up less damaged than what one might have expected for an earthquake that registered an upper 6 on an intensity scale of 7.

 その雪の季節が、新潟県中越地震の被災地に迫っている。復旧の加速を願うが、最大震度7という猛烈な揺れの割には住宅被害が少なかったとの見方があるようだ。壊れた家々の姿は実に痛ましいが、全半壊した住宅は、これまでの震度6強の直下型地震より少なかった。

The destroyed houses are really painful to see. But the temblor left fewer destroyed and partially damaged homes than previous quakes that have occurred inland, as opposed to those centered in the sea, and registered intensities of upper 6.

One explanation offered by experts is the local tradition to prepare for heavy snow. They speculate that the use of thick pillars and light tin roofs to withstand the weight of snow saved houses from the earthquake's shocks.

One might say the wisdom and tradition, born of the necessity of living in snow country, served to lessen damage from the temblor.

 それは豪雪への備えがあったからとの推測がある。雪の重みに耐えるよう柱を太くしたり、屋根を軽いトタンにしたりした住宅が耐えたのではないかという。雪との長い付き合いから生まれた知恵や伝統が、被害を減らしたのだろうか。

The protagonist of the novel ``Toge'' is Kawai Tsugunosuke, chief executive of the Nagaoka fief toward the end of the Edo Period (1603-1867).

As government forces are sweeping through the country, he makes an all-out effort to avoid war. The feudal lord he serves writes a letter imploring peace.

Kawai takes it with him when he meets the commander of the enemy forces that have arrived in Nagaoka. But the commander rejects the lord's plea, and the talks break down.

 「峠」の主人公は幕末の家老、河井継之助である。戊辰戦争に際し、何とか戦いを避けようと尽力したという。藩主の嘆願書を携え、官軍軍監と談判したが断られ決裂する。

The Niigata edition of The Asahi Shimbun has carried an article about quake damage sustained by the Jigenji temple in Ojiya where the famous talks took place. The room where Kawai met the commander is called Kaiken-no Ma (Meeting room) and was designated by city hall as a municipal and cultural landmark. The wall of the room crumbled in the quake, and its floor also collapsed onto the foundation.

The deputy priest of the temple was quoted as saying, ``We will do our utmost to restore the room to induce people who have been impressed by the novel `Toge' to come here once again.''

 その談判が行われた小千谷市の慈眼寺の被害が、地域版に載った。市指定文化財の「会見之(の)間」は、壁が崩れ落ち床が抜けた。「『峠』に感銘された方々に、もう一度訪れていただけるように、力を尽くしたい」と副住職は言う。

The earthquake in central Niigata Prefecture not only badly upset people's lives but it also shook up important records and memories that had been handed down from generation to generation.

The imminent arrival of the severe season makes me hope that more attention will be paid to what supports the mental health of quake survivors to help them tide over the heavy snow.

 地震は、人々の暮らしを大きく揺さぶり、断ち切っただけではなく、人から人へ伝えられてきた大事な記録や記憶をも揺さぶった。厳しい季節を目前に、人々の心の支えになるものが断たれず、つながってゆくようにと切に思う。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 15(IHT/Asahi: November 16,2004)

Novelist bequeathes evidence of fatherly love


Novelist Mori Ogai (1862-1922) named his children after European given names, devising fitting combinations of Chinese characters to match their sounds. The model names he adopted were Otto, Marie, Fritz, Anne and Louis. In Japanese, they are Oto, Mari, Furitsu and Annu, respectively.

11月07日付
■《天声人語》

 オト、マリ、フリツ、アンヌ、ルイ。この欧風の名が、森鴎外の家では於菟、茉莉、不律、杏奴、類となって、子どもたちに付けられた。

An abundance of materials showing how Ogai, one of the literary giants of modern Japan, was a loving father has been found, including illustrated letters he sent home from Nara. He begins one letter by saying ``kodomo mina-ni'' (to all of my children). Annu Kobori, the late essayist and the novelist's second daughter, is said to have kept these items at her home.

 「コドモミナニ」。こんなくだりも見える、鴎外から子らへの絵手紙など、多くの資料がみつかった。次女で随想家の小堀杏奴の遺品だという。

Annu's book, ``Bannen-no Chichi'' (My father in his last years), is her recollection of the novelist. She writes in the Iwanami Bunko paperback: ``When I leaned against my father's back, I smelled a nostalgic aroma, a mix of cigar smoke and dandruff, from his thick neck. ... He called me `Annu, Annu.' He often added on the diminutive `ko' for endearment perhaps, and playfully called me `Annu-ko, Annu-ko.'''

 「父の背中に寄りかかっていると、父の太い首筋に葉巻と雲脂(ふけ)のまじった懐しい匂いがする」。杏奴は『晩年の父』(岩波文庫)に、思い出を記している。「父は私を『アンヌ、アンヌ』と呼んだ。そして愛称の意味もあるのか、アンヌにわざと『コ』を付けて、『アンヌコ、ヌコヌコや』などといってふざけた」

The recollection of oldest daughter Mari was equally adoring. In ``Chichi-no Boshi'' (My father's hat), a Kodansha Bungei Bunko paperback, she writes: ``He was a wonderfully affectionate father not only to me but to my siblings. The way he expressed his love was more than perfect, almost extraordinary.''

She goes on to say that, to her memory, ``A look of displeasure never crossed his face, and I never glimpsed the soul of a despicable man there.''

 長女の茉莉は、こう書いた。「父の愛は私に対しても他のきょうだいに対しても、素晴しく、その表現は完全以上であり、殆ど常識の外れたものであった」(『父の帽子』講談社文芸文庫)。鴎外の、どんな場合の顔を思い出しても「不愉快な影がない。浅ましい人間の心が覗(のぞ)いていた事がない」

The Ogai Memorial Hongo Library, instituted by Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward, now stands where the novelist lived, and an exhibition is now under way until Dec. 15. It features the letters exchanged between Ogai and Natsume Soseki, two literary giants of the Meiji Era (1868-1912).

I was particularly intrigued to see a book handbound by Ogai in the traditional fashion. Ogai cut out Soseki's works from magazines, put the pages together, and gave the book to his children.

 東京都文京区の鴎外の旧居跡は、区立鴎外記念本郷図書館になっている。「鴎外と漱石−書簡からみた明治の二大文豪の交流」展が開かれている(12月15日まで)。鴎外の手製といわれる和綴(わと)じ本があった。雑誌に載った漱石の作品のページを切り取って綴じ、子どもたちに与えたという。

The handmade book turned up among the items kept by Annu. She recalled that her father had big, bony hands. As I looked at the display, it seemed to me that this book, made by such hands, conveyed the heartfelt wishes of Mori Rintaro (Ogai's real name) as a father.

 杏奴の遺品の方には手製の教科書があった。彼女は、鴎外の手を「大きい、骨ばった」と回想している。その手でなしたこまやかな「作品」には、父親・林太郎の思いと願いが込められているようだった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 7(IHT/Asahi: November 15,2004)

Phoenix gone, but glimmer of hope remains


A reporter once asked Yasser Arafat: ``Sir, you have survived many close brushes with death. What's your secret?'' The Palestinian leader answered there was no secret, except for his uncanny instinct for sensing imminent danger. He cited one example.

11月12日付
■《天声人語》

 ――何度も死にそうな目に遭っておられますが、間一髪で危険をすり抜ける「秘訣」は何ですか。問われたアラファト氏は、秘訣などありませんと答えつつ、「なぜか危険に対する勘がある」とも言い、実例をあげたという。

``There was a joint conference of Palestinian and Lebanese leaders in Beirut,'' Arafat recalled. ``The moment I entered the conference hall, I told everyone to get out immediately. ... Five minutes later, the place was bombed by Israeli fighter planes.'' This comment was aired on a Nippon Television Network Corp. program titled ``Paresuchina 50-nen no Higan'' (Palestine's long-cherished dream of 50 years).

 「ベイルートでパレスチナとレバノンの指導部の合同会議がありました。私は会場に入ったとたん、『すぐに出ろ』といいました……五分と経たないうちにイスラエルの戦闘機がこの場所を爆撃していました」(『パレスチナ五十年の悲願』日本テレビ放送網)

Arafat died, having led his people for decades as the symbol of Palestine. It was said he slept only three hours a day. He was nicknamed the Phoenix of the Middle East, but there was no resurrection this time.

 中東の不死鳥とも言われたアラファト氏が逝った。「睡眠時間3時間」の伝説もあり、パレスチナの象徴として人々を長く率いたが、ついによみがえらなかった。

He visited the United States in 1993 to sign the historic peace treaty with Israel. Asked during a news conference whether he should change from his military uniform to a suit and tie to befit his new role as a leader of peace, he replied, ``I am not a chameleon.'' It turned out that the subsequent path he chose did not lead even close to peace.

 93年、イスラエルとの歴史的な和平協定調印で訪米した。記者会見で、今後は平和の指導者として軍服から背広に着替えたらどうかと問われ「私はカメレオンではない」と答えた。その後、和平とはほど遠い道が続いた。

Arafat then quoted lines from an Arabic poem: ``I console my heart with hope/ How difficult it is to live/ Without this glimmer of hope.''

 ――あなたにとって希望とは何ですか? 彼は「一日として希望を失ったことはありません」と言い、アラビア語の詩を引いた。私は心を期待で慰める/生きることはいかに困難であろうか/この一縷(いちる)の望みなくして。

For forging the peace treaty, Arafat shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with then-Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. I heard Peres say after he became prime minister, ``We have started rowing into a lake of peacemaking, and we are now just halfway to burn out. We must keep rowing to transform every sacrifice into hope.''

I pray the glimmer of hope will be carried into the future.

 和平協定で、ノーベル平和賞を共に受賞したイスラエルのペレス外相が、後に首相として語るのを聞いた。「私たちは、和平の実現という湖に漕(こ)ぎ出し、その真ん中まで来て疲れている状態だ。しかし更に漕ぎ続け、あらゆる犠牲を希望に変えてゆかなければならない」。一縷の望みを、未来へつなぎたい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 12(IHT/Asahi: November 13,2004)

How will Fallujah 2004 go down in history?


Including the sensational ``300 million-yen robbery'' in Japan, 1968 was an eventful year around the world.

For the United States, it was the year civil rights leader Martin Luther King and presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy were assassinated.

In Europe, Soviet and East European forces invaded Czechoslovakia, and French students rose up in the so-called May Revolt.

11月11日付
■《天声人語》

 3億円事件が起きた1968年、昭和43年は、大きなできごとが国内外で相次いだ。米国ではキング牧師と大統領候補のロバート・ケネディが暗殺され、ソ連・東欧軍がチェコへ侵入、フランスでは「5月革命」があった。

In Vietnam, the Tet Offensive changed the course of the war that had turned into a quagmire. North Vietnamese forces and the National Liberation Front mounted a unified offensive and seized control of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon for some hours.

 泥沼化したベトナム戦争の行方を大きく変えたのが、旧正月(テト)のテト攻勢だった。北ベトナム軍と解放戦線が一斉蜂起し、サイゴンでは米大使館が一時占拠された。

In his 1971 classic ``Tet!: The Turning Point in the Vietnam War,'' then-Washington Post war correspondent Don Oberdorfer recalls that the offensive came as a total shock to Americans who believed their nation's victory was imminent.

Positioning the Tet Offensive as one of the most significant events of the era, Oberdorfer notes to the effect that its significance was not that it brought change to the situation unfolding in South Vietnam, but rather how it influenced the minds of Americans more than 10,000 miles away from Vietnam. (The book has been translated into Japanese and published by Soshisha under the title of ``Teto Kosei,'' or Tet Offensive.)

 「テト攻勢がわれわれの時代で最も大きな出来事の一つであったというのは、南ベトナムを舞台として起こった事柄によるものではなく、一万マイル以上も離れたところにいるアメリカ人の心の中に起こったことのためである」。勝利は間近と信じ込まされていた米市民が衝撃を受けたと、ワシントン・ポスト紙のオーバードーファー記者は『テト攻勢』(草思社)に書いた。

In the ancient city of Hue, a bloody street war raged for about a month between U.S. forces and the National Liberation Front that had captured the city.

Hue reappeared in news headlines recently.

Prepping his men for battle in Fallujah, a Marine commander told his troops: ``You're all in the process of making history. ... This is another Hue city in the making.''

 解放戦線側が町を占拠し、奪回を狙う米軍との間で約一月にわたる血みどろの市街戦が続いたのが古都フエである。そのフエを、イラクのファルージャを攻撃する米軍の海兵隊の現地指揮官が持ち出し、兵士を鼓舞した。「お前たちは歴史をつくる現場にいる……(今回の作戦は)もう一つのフエだ」

In his book, Oberdorfer quotes lyrics written by Trinh Cong Son, a Vietnamese songwriter who wrote anti-war songs during the Vietnam War and was dubbed ``Vietnam's Bob Dylan.''

``Ballad to the Dead (Hue 1968),'' includes these lines: ``The bodies of the dead lie all around, in those cold rains/Alongside the bodies of the old and weak/ Lie the bodies of the young and innocent/ Which body is the body of my little sister?''

 戦争中に反戦歌を作り、ベトナムのボブ・ディランと呼ばれたチン・コン・ソンの詩が『テト攻勢』に載っている。「老人と弱い者のむくろのかたわらに/若者と幼児のむくろが横たわる/どれが私の妹のむくろなのか?」。最後に「フエ 1968年」とある。

I wonder how the song ``Fallujah 2004'' will go.

 2004年のファルージャは、どう記されるのだろうか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 11(IHT/Asahi: November 12,2004)

Where does support for Bush come from?


Popular American novelist Tom Wolfe once mockingly described the United States as a country too powerful for its own good, unable to stop itself. He called the country a blooming young rustic who is given to partying and acts on instinct, according to ``From Bauhaus to Our House.'' (Its Japanese translation is published by Shobunsha.)

11月06日付
■《天声人語》

 かつて米国のことを、こんなふうに揶揄(やゆ)した作家がいる。「力をもてあまし、止まりがつかず、本能の命じるまま、田舎ものが若盛りのばか騒ぎをしている」(『バウハウスからマイホームまで』晶文社)。

Wolfe, a New Yorker, caused something of a stir when he announced his support for President George W. Bush to a British newspaper just before the Nov. 2 presidential election.

An amazed staff member of the Guardian wrote: ``Where does it come from, this endorsement of the most conservative administration within living memory? Of this president who champions the right and the rich, who has taken America into the mire of war, and seeks re-election tomorrow?''

 ニューヨーク在住の人気作家トム・ウルフ氏である。投票日直前、彼が英紙にブッシュ支持を公言したことが話題になった。英紙にいわせれば「記憶にあるかぎり最も保守的で、右翼と金持ちを擁護し、戦争の泥沼に引き込んだブッシュ政権」なのに、なぜ?である。

We have taken it for granted that most of New York's writers and intellectuals are voters against Bush.

Wolfe said the Bush re-election campaign was supported by people ``not wanting to be led by East Coast pretensions.'' He went on to say, ``Support for Bush is about resentment in the so-called `red states,''' adding, ``I come from one of those states, Virginia.'' In this way, he expressed solidarity with fellow Americans living in the South and the Midwest.

 ニューヨークの作家や知識人はたいてい反ブッシュだという思いこみがある。ウルフ氏は「東海岸の気取った連中に支配されたくない」という人々の怨念(おんねん)がブッシュ陣営を支えてきたと言い、彼の故郷バージニア州を含む米国南部や中西部の人々に共感を表明した。

A map showing the outcome of the election in colors tells it all. The blue states won by Senator John Kerry are lopsided to the Northeast and the West Coast. The red states taken by Bush make up a splash across the rest of the country. The picture reminds me of the observations by some people that New York is not America and that the Midwest and the South constitute the heartland of the United States.

 選挙結果を地図で見ると、確かに色分けがはっきりしている。ケリー支持は東北部と西海岸に偏る。それ以外はブッシュ支持一色だ。ニューヨークはアメリカではない、という言葉とともに、中西部、南部こそがアメリカの核だという言葉を思い浮かべる。

If the map shows the geographical division of America, the presidential campaign appeared to offer an insight into the psychological depths of Americans.

Core supporters of Bush were people opposed to same-sex marriage and abortion for reasons of religious faith. I remember reading a newspaper column in which the contentiousness of the race was referred to as ``civil war.''

 地理的な色分けだけではない。あの国の人たちの心理の奥をのぞかされる気もした。宗教的信条を背景に同性愛や人工中絶を忌避する人々がブッシュ支持の核になった。「内戦」と表現するコラムもある。

Wolfe's new novel is about college-campus sex. He says it will be shunned by conservatives. Despite his support for Bush, he is critical of the invasion of Iraq. The same warp marks the attitudes of Americans in general.

 ブッシュ支持を公言したウルフ氏の新作は大学での性がテーマだ。保守派には忌避されるだろうという。彼は「イラク侵略」にも批判的だ。このねじれが、米国のいま、を映してもいる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 6(IHT/Asahi: November 11,2004)

U.S. `shooting horses to scare flies' in Iraq


Sheikh Ghazi Al-Yawar, Iraq's interim president, reportedly disagreed bitterly with the decision of the U.S.-led coalition to bring Fallujah down by force. He was quoted as likening the use of armed force to ``shooting a horse to scare a fly on it.''

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was reported to have sent a letter to U.S. President George W. Bush and others, urging them not to make the assault.

11月09日付
■《天声人語》

 「軍事力行使は、馬にとまるハエを銃で殺すに等しい」。イラク暫定政府のヤワル大統領は、こう言って、ファルージャへの大規模な攻撃に反対したという。アナン国連事務総長は、攻撃の中止を求める書簡を、ブッシュ大統領らに送ったと報じられた。

Undeterred, U.S. and Iraqi soldiers stormed into Fallujah on Monday and seized control of the city's main hospital and key bridges over the Euphrates. This is the same hospital that reported last month that U.S. airstrikes had killed only innocent civilians.

CNN reported, ``U.S. military officials said the hospital needed to be secured so hospital workers could attend to casualties without facing intimidation by insurgents, and to end its use as a source of anti-U.S. propaganda.''

The tactic, I assume, was to silence dissent and then mount a full-scale assault.

 昨日、米軍とイラク軍がファルージャに進攻し、総合病院や橋を占拠したという。この病院は、先月の米軍の空爆などに関して「死傷者の大半は民間人」などと発表してきた。CNNは、病院占拠は「反米宣伝をやめさせるため」という米軍筋の情報を伝えた。まず「口」を封じ、それから総攻撃とのもくろみなのか。

I understand that 500-pound bombs have been dropped on Fallujah. The news reminded me of the 500 pounders dropped from B-29s in the Pacific War. One major difference between Americans and Japanese is the latter know what it is like to be on the receiving end of an air attack.

 空爆では、500ポンド爆弾が落とされたという。太平洋戦争で、B29が投下した500ポンド爆弾を連想した。米国人と日本人との大きな違いの一つは、空襲体験の有無だろう。

Granted, there are not many Japanese left now who have actually experienced air raids. But there are plenty of sites where tremendous bomb blasts ripped lives apart. Even if the visual signs of devastation are no longer there, people can still imagine what happened.

 日本の実体験者は減りつつある。しかし、猛烈な爆弾の嵐で命が散らされた場所は、いくらでもある。目に見える痕跡は無くとも、その時に何が起きたのかを、その場に立って考えることができる。

The United States and others reportedly brushed aside Annan's letter as an example of meddling in someone else's affairs. But then, what do you call the American and British invasion of Iraq? It was definitely not an act of meddling by word or letter. It was an act that has resulted in the deaths of an estimated 10,000 or more Iraqi people, not to mention numerous instances of horrendous abuse.

 米国などは、アナン氏の書簡に対して、内政干渉だと反発したという。では、米英のイラク侵攻は何だったのか。明らかに、書簡や口頭による干渉ではなかった。この干渉では、万を超すイラク人の命が失われたと推計されている。多くの、おぞましい虐待もあった。

``The slated general elections in Iraq are drawing near, but the nation's unwanted elements have yet to go away. If they can be crushed by force, let's go ahead and do that.''

If the above is a correct paraphrase of what the U.S. and British governments are thinking and doing, how could anyone not want to meddle in their affairs?

 ――予定の選挙が近づいてきた。まだ邪魔者たちがいる。力ずくでなら、つぶせる。だからつぶせ――。もしも、こんなやり方で突っ走るとするならば、干渉するなと言う方に無理がある。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 9(IHT/Asahi: November 10,2004)

Good looks mask deadliness of mushrooms


In an essay, poet Toshio Mae once wrote: ``When you find a mushroom, you feel as if you have discovered something secretly buried. Besides, a mushroom in your hand somehow makes you feel as if you have traveled back to a time long past.'' He wrote of his frame of mind when he was returning from a mountain hunt for mushrooms. The essay is titled ``Tsukiyodake'' (a mushroom glowing in the moonlight).

11月08日付
■《天声人語》

 「こっそり秘密の物を見付けた心躍りといったが、きのこはなんとなく遥かな気分をもたらすのである」。山からキノコを採って帰るときのことを、歌人の前登志夫さんがそんなふうに描いている(「月夜茸」)。

It seems as if finding a mushroom gave him the excitement of having come across a treasure.

Mushrooms are certainly tasty to eat, but they carry the risk of poisoning you if you pick the wrong one. The most poisonous variety, doku tsurutake, is called ``destroying angel'' in English. Its lily-white, elegant appearance is quite deceptive. Should someone eat it, the mushroom causes symptoms resembling those of cholera. The death rate is said to be 70 percent. The English name is truly apt for the variety whose angelic appearance masks its deadliness.

 宝物を掘り当てたような高揚である。美味、しかしひとつ間違うと毒におかされる危険もつきまとう。最も毒が強いキノコの一種ドクツルタケを英語でデストロイング・エンゼルという。真っ白で典雅ともいえる外見だが、食べるとコレラに似た症状を起こし、死亡率は70%といわれる。まさに天使の顔をして破滅をもたらす。

What books of reference say of sugi hiratake, a white and pretty mushroom, is all favorable, some crediting it with ``a plain and pleasant taste.'' Others describe its taste as ``appetizing in a simple way, despite the variety's minimally appetizing aroma.'' Recent events make me wonder if this variety has transformed itself into a poisonous mushroom.

 「くせがなく爽(さわ)やかな味である」「香りは少ないが、味には癖がなく口あたりがよい」。図鑑などに見るスギヒラタケの説明である。白くて可憐(かれん)にも見えるこのキノコだが、ひょっとして毒キノコに変身したのだろうか。

People with kidney trouble have died of acute brain disorder in succession. For most of these people, death came after eating sugi hiratake, a mushroom of choice in the Tohoku (northeastern) region and the Hokuriku district on the Sea of Japan. Whether there was a precise cause-and-effect relationship between the deaths and the mushroom is a mystery that has yet to be unraveled.

 腎臓機能に障害のある人が急性脳症で死亡する例が相次いだ。多くの人がスギヒラタケを食べていた。東北や北陸地方では、好んでよく食べられるキノコだ。因果関係があるのかどうか。謎は解明されていない。

As usual, many other people have suffered from mushroom poisoning this fall, though not to the point of dying. In most cases, the agent was a mushroom, called tsukiyodake, that emits blue-white light in the dark. The symptoms include nausea and stomachache. Some victims say everything they saw seemed blue-white. In one extreme case, the victims felt as if fireflies were flying about in front of their eyes.

 死には至らなくても、この秋も大勢の人が毒キノコで中毒症状を起こした。ほとんどがツキヨタケによる。暗いところでは青白い光を発するキノコだ。吐き気、腹痛などで苦しむ例のほか、見るものすべてが青白く見えた、目の前をホタルが飛び交うように感じた、という体験談もある。

There is still very much to be learned about mushrooms. A poem by Fumi Saito goes: ``I can imagine giant flying squirrels/ Leaving their nests, anxious to meet/ Tsukiyodake that glows at night.''

 キノコの正体についてはわからないことが多い。〈夜を光る月夜茸(つきよだけ)にしきりに逢ひたくてむささびどもは出でてゆくらむ〉斎藤史

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 8(IHT/Asahi: November 9,2004)

Let's grow more rice to ease starvation


A haiku by Tatsuko Hoshino goes: ``The ears felt weighty enough/ When I took hold of a handful of stalks/ That sprang back with a rustle when I released them.''

Come autumn, it is important for us to see rice stalks bending under the weight of the plants' ears because it is a sign of a bumper harvest.

The sight serves as a reminder of the great potential that those tiny rice seeds sown in spring embodied. Besides, on a fine day, the waves of drooping ears swaying in the wind make a golden spectacle.

10月17日付
■《天声人語》

 〈手にうけし垂穂やかさと手をはなれ 星野立子〉。秋の田に頭(こうべ)を垂れる稲穂は、小さな種もみが秘めていた力の大きさを思わせる。揺れる穂波は、降り注ぐ日差しを、やわらかな金色のさざ波に変える。

I felt quite reassured by the sight of ears hanging low when I took a walk along a stretch of rice fields in the Kinki region. (The area includes Kyoto, Osaka and Nara prefectures.)

 近畿方面で、稲の実る田に沿う道を歩いた。豊かに垂れる稲の穂は、ふっくらとした気分をもたらしてくれた。

The United Nations has designated this year as the International Year of Rice. This is the first time that the organization has dedicated a year to a single farm product.

The theme of this year's campaign is ``Rice is life.''

Rice is a staple food for more than half of the world's population. Citing population growth and other reasons, experts say demand for rice will hugely outrun production in the future.

 今年は、国連の「国際コメ年」だという。一つの作物についての国際年は初めてで、テーマは「コメは命」。コメは世界の半数以上の人々が主食にしているが、人口増などで、将来は需要が生産量を大きく上回る見通しだという。

As part of activities marking the International Year of Rice, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization held a competition of theses that have contributed to global research on rice.

In the new plant variety development category, a treatise on the base sequence and structure of rice's first chromosome, chiefly written by a research team from Japan's National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, was chosen for the highest award.

The chromosome in question is the largest one in rice, and the research team accurately deciphered how its components, called bases, were arranged and structured. The team's findings will provide basic information for developing better rice varieties and increasing production.

 「コメ年」にちなみ、国連食糧農業機関(FAO)が、世界のイネ研究に貢献した論文のコンテストをした。イネ育種関連部門では、日本の農業生物資源研究所の研究班が中心となって発表した「イネ第1染色体の塩基配列と構造」が最優秀賞に選ばれた。イネの一番大きい染色体について、塩基という部品の並び方や組み立てを正確に解読した。品種改良や増産の礎になるのだろう。

By the way, Oct. 16 was World Food Day, which commemorates the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization in 1945.

Photographs and other items detailing food supply situations around the world were put on display at a Global School Feeding Exhibition held at the U.N. University gallery in Tokyo's Shibuya district.

There was a large world map showing the areas that are plagued by starvation. A note on the map said a child dies every five minutes of starvation or a related illness.

 昨16日は、1945年のFAOの設立を記念する世界食糧デーだった。東京・渋谷の国連大学のギャラリーでは「子どもたちの未来をつくる世界の学校給食展」が開かれており、各地の実情を伝える写真などが展示されていた(30日まで。17、24日は休館)。世界の飢餓状況を示す大きな地図にこうあった。「5秒に1人のこどもが飢餓やそれに関係する原因で亡くなっています」

The note illustrated the grave consequences of inequitable global food distribution. I also took it as suggesting that Japan was in an excellent position to help starving people.

 食糧配分の不均衡の深刻さと、日本ができることの大きさとを訴えかけていた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 17(IHT/Asahi: November 8,2004)

New faces on cash were picture of poverty


There are posters around town proclaiming the issuance of new bank notes. The copy reads: ``These are Japan's new faces.''

When none came my way after a few days for waiting around for them, I decided I had to go out and get them myself. I queued up before a bank change machine that was said to be dispensing these notes, and finally met the new faces.

11月05日付
■《天声人語》

 「ニッポンの、新しい顔です」。そう印刷された、新札の発行を告げるポスターを街で目にする。しかし、その顔はなかなか手元にやってこない。新札が出てくるという、銀行の両替機の前に少し並んで、対面した。

Higuchi Ichiyo (1872-1896) on the 5,000 yen note has her characteristically clear features, but her image is somewhat different from the impression I have formed of her from other pictures. Perhaps because of her youth and the absence of wrinkles, her face looks a bit plain.

On the other hand, Hideyo Noguchi (1876-1928) on the 1,000 yen note is exactly as I have seen him elsewhere. His strong, steady gaze suggests his forceful personality.

 5千円札の樋口一葉は、やはり目鼻立ちがくっきりとしているが、これまで見た写真とは、どこか違った印象を受ける。若いので、しわがないせいか、ややのっぺりとしている。千円の野口英世は、見覚えのある写真そのもので、物を見据えるような両の目が、押しの強さを思わせる。

Neither Higuchi nor Noguchi ever carried a fat wallet. ``Noguchi Hideyo,'' a biography published as an Asahi Sensho paperback, contains a letter he wrote to an old friend in his native Inawashiro, Fukushima Prefecture, begging for 10 yen:

``Like with anyone else who has just started practising medicine, I need money desperately and am really stuck without it. If you would be so generous as to accept me as your prodigal brother and send me the money ...''

 一葉もだが、英世も、お札からは縁遠かった。「兎(と)に角(かく)医士になり初めは誰しも同し事、金子必要是非なくては如何とも致兼(いたしかね)候間、此際放蕩なる弟を持つたとあきらめて御恵送……」。故郷の福島・猪苗代の旧友に十円を無心した手紙である(『野口英世』朝日選書)。

Noguchi's original given name was Seisaku. He changed it to Hideyo after reading Tsubouchi Shoyo's ``Tosei Shosei Katagi,'' a novel in which a character named Seisaku Nonoguchi, a medical student and out-of-towner, engages in debauchery.

Because this novel was widely read, Noguchi was terrified that people might mistake him for the model.

 彼は、坪内逍遥の小説「当世書生気質」を読んで、清作から英世へと改名した。作中に「野々口精作」という地方出身の医学生が遊蕩(ゆうとう)する場面がある。かなり広く読まれているので、「精作」のモデルだと誤解されないかと恐れたという。

Noguchi eventually went to the United States, where he worked hard at the Rockefeller Institute (now Rockefeller University).

His biography notes: ``After half his life of borrowing money he never repaid, he finally found a sponsor with a bottomless pocket-Rockefeller.''

 やがて英世は渡米し、ロックフェラー医学研究所で力行する。「英世の半生は……借り倒しのそれであった。そして最後に、いくら借りても相手が倒れることのないスポンサー、ロックフェラーをついに見つけた」(同選書)

It has been 100 years since Noguchi became an assistant at the Rockefeller Institute.

In the United States, the incumbent president has just squeaked through to re-election. ``America's face'' remains unchanged.

 英世が研究所の助手になってから100年の今年、次の大統領を選ぶ選挙で、現職がかろうじて逃げ切る。「アメリカの顔」の方は、変わらなかった。

-The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 5(IHT/Asahi: November 6,2004)

Did Americans' votes actually register?


Half a century ago, the editor-in-chief of a small local newspaper in America tried an experiment. He asked more than 100 people to sign a petition. Only one person signed. Everyone else balked at it, saying the petition was ``too anti-government.'' These people did not realize that the petition was actually a passage from the American Declaration of Independence.

11月04日付
■《天声人語》

 半世紀ほど前の米国で、ある小さな新聞の編集長が一つの実験をしたという。請願書を持ち、100人以上の市民に署名を頼んだが、応じたのは1人だけだった。他の人たちは「反政府的すぎる」として署名を拒んだ。その請願書は、実は米国の独立宣言の有名な文章だったが、市民たちは気づかなかった。

Karel van Wolferen, author of the critically acclaimed ``The Enigma of Japanese Power,'' mentions this episode in ``Sekai-no Asu-ga Kessuru Hi'' (``The Day When the Future of the World Will Be Decided''), his latest book from Kadokawa Shoten that hit the shelves just before the U.S. presidential election.

Voicing his apprehension for President George W. Bush's re-election, van Wolferen points out that ``the ignorance of Americans could destroy America.''

 これは『日本/権力構造の謎』などで知られるカレル・ヴァン・ウォルフレン氏が、今回の米大統領選の投票を前に出版した本の「アメリカ人の無知がアメリカを崩壊させる」というくだりに出てくる。本の題は『世界の明日が決する日』(角川書店)で、ブッシュ政権と、その再選への様々な懸念がつづられている。

Has the ``future of the world'' been decided?

Four more years of Bush must be a depressing thought for many people around the world. And unless this superpower mends its ways and learns to listen, there is much to worry about the future.

 「世界の明日」は、決したのだろうか。ブッシュ政権が続くことには重苦しさを感じる人が、世界には多いだろう。超大国の、聞く耳を持たないかのような振る舞いが改まらないとすれば、先行きへの不安も高まる。

The passage from the Declaration of Independence, used in the petition, goes like this: ``We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.''

 あの請願書に使われた独立宣言には、こうある。「われわれは、自明の真理として、すべての人は平等に造られ、造物主によって、一定の奪いがたい天賦の権利を付与され、そのなかに生命、自由および幸福の追求の含まれることを信ずる」(『人権宣言集』岩波文庫)。

Elections must be fair and just if these rights are to be guaranteed.

A pre-election opinion survey by The New York Times found that an overwhelming 80 percent of African-Americans did not believe their votes would be counted properly.

 この宣言がうたう国民の権利を守るためには、平等な選挙が必要だ。ニューヨーク・タイムズ紙の事前の世論調査では、アフリカ系米人の8割もが、票がきちんと集計されないという不信感を抱いていた。

Until we know for sure that balloting and vote-counting were completely above board in the extremely close election, the future of the world cannot be decided.

 この大接戦の、投開票の公正さも検証しないと、世界の明日も確定しない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 4(IHT/Asahi: November 5,2004)

Koizumi too optimistic on SDF mission in Iraq


One of the works of 17th-century French painter Nicholas Poussin depicts shepherds in Arcadia. This place in ancient Greece has been thought to be another name for an idyllic paradise or a utopia. A Japanese equivalent is rakutenchi, a word that literally denotes a place where people can live, as in Paradise.

11月03日付
■(天声人語)

 フランスの画家ニコラ・プッサンが「アルカディアの牧人」に描いている古代ギリシャの地・アルカディアは、牧歌的な楽園や、理想郷にたとえられた。日本で言う楽天地もまた、楽しさのあふれる天国のような場所を指している。

Only one step away from rakutenchi is the name of Rakuten Inc., an Internet mall operator that has been authorized to set up a new professional baseball team that will join the Pacific League.

The question is whether the selection of Rakuten over its rival applicant, Livedoor Co., was made in a fair manner.

The matter needs to be clarified by the Nippon Professional Baseball officials who made the choice. The media have an obligation to confirm if what they say is true.

In the meantime, I would like to keep an optimistic (rakuten-teki in Japanese) watch on developments. After all, apart from the question of fairness, the decision to let in a new team is concrete evidence that pro baseball players and fans succeeded in pushing the self-righteous club owners into action.

 名前からは、そんな連想も浮かぶインターネット事業会社・楽天の、プロ野球への参入が決まった。選考の公正さについては、十分な説明と検証が要るが、選手会とファンが独善的な球界を動かしたあかしとして、まずは楽天的に見守ってゆきたい。

Mori Ogai (1862-1922), one of the literary giants of modern Japan, used the word rakuten-kan, to coin a phrase meaning ``optimistic outlook,'' in a short story titled ``Fujidana'' (Wisteria trellis). A passage in which the word appears reads: ``Some people think they can get along while enjoying unlimited freedom.... Their outlook on life seems to be too optimistic.'' (The novel is contained in the complete works of modern Japanese literature, published by Chikuma Shobo.)

 森鴎外は、短編「藤棚」で、楽天観という言葉を使っている。「無制限の自由で人生の諧調が成り立つと思つてゐる人達は……余り楽天観に過ぎてゐるのではあるまいか」(『現代日本文学全集』筑摩書房)

A statement by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi about the safety of members of the Ground Self-Defense Force stationed in Iraq struck me as going too far in such optimism.

He said, ``When the governor of Muthanna province came, he said the security situation was stable. And I have been told that the GSDF activities in Samawah are heartily welcomed by local residents.''

 あまりに楽天観に過ぎていないかと思ったのは、イラクに駐留する自衛隊員の安全にかかわる、小泉首相の発言だ。「ムサンナ州の知事が来た時も(治安は)安定しているとおっしゃっていました。サマワは住民も非常に歓迎しているそうですよ。自衛隊の活動を」

A rocket shell fired into the GSDF camp in Samawah pierced a steel container. Even though the container was for storage purposes, it was presumably in an area readily accessible by troops when they needed something. So, some GSDF members could have been injured, and the risk remains in the days ahead.

It is not yet clear how much the beheading of captive Shosei Koda had to do with the GSDF presence in Samawah. But it was the GSDF presence that invited the shelling.

 サマワの宿営地に着弾したロケット弾は、鉄のコンテナを貫通した。荷物の保管用でも、人は出入りするだろうから、被弾の恐れはあったし、これからもある。香田証生さんの殺害が、自衛隊の駐留とどれほど深くかかわっていたかは、はっきりしない。しかし砲撃は、自衛隊がそこに居るから起きた。

It is not likely that when the government dispatched troops to Iraq, it anticipated that dangers would mount to this degree.

The government should come up with an honest explanation about the gap between its original assumption and the reality. Something must also be done promptly to relieve the pressure on our troops.

 今のような危険な状態が、派遣前に想定していた範囲内とは思えないが、どうか。真っ当な説明と、速やかな対応が、肝要だ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 3(IHT/Asahi: November 4,2004)

Will Powell skedaddle if Bush stays in saddle?


The U.S. presidential race remained a dead heat right into election day on Tuesday. Aside from the obvious question of who will win, I am also wondering what will become of Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Within the markedly unilateralist and militaristic administration of President George W. Bush, Powell was sometimes the voice of reason that called for moderation and respect for the international community.

11月02日付
■《天声人語》

 つばぜり合いの続く米大統領選は、今日投票日を迎える。選挙の結果に加えて、その去就が気になるのがパウエル国務長官だ。軍事力に頼る単独行動主義色の濃いブッシュ政権にあって、時に、穏健さや世界への目配りを体現してきた。

``Plan of Attack'' by Bob Woodward details the steps leading to the U.S. attack on Iraq. The author quotes Powell as telling Bush in August 2002, ``It's going to suck the oxygen out of everything.'' Further, Woodward writes, Powell tells Bush that war could destabilize friendly governments in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, and dramatically affect the supply and price of oil. (The book has been published in Japanese from Nihon Keizai Shimbun.)

 「あらゆるものが酸素不足であっぷあっぷします」と、彼がブッシュ大統領に言ったのは、02年の夏だった(『攻撃計画』日本経済新聞社)。イラク戦争を始めれば、アラブの友好的な政権を揺るがし、石油の供給と価格に大きな影響が出ると指摘したという。

Woodward goes on to note what Powell and his deputy Richard Armitage privately called the Pottery Barn rule: You break it, you own it.

Applying this rule to Iraq, Powell told the president: ``You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people. You own all their hopes, aspirations and problems. You own it all.''

 そして、彼が「割った品物の返品は受け付けない陶器店のルール」とひそかに呼ぶものをイラクに当てはめ、こう述べた。「大統領はイラク国民二五〇〇万人の主人になるわけです」「イラク国民の希望、願望、問題をすべて一手に握る。なにもかもが大統領の所有になります」。つまり、壊したらあなたのものだ、と。

As a Vietnam veteran, Powell probably understood that war breaks numerous pieces of ``pottery,'' and that each piece represents life.

Two years and three months have passed since Bush listened to Powell's argument and asked, ``What should I do? What else can I do?''

The land Bush supposedly came to ``own'' has turned into a scene of endless carnage.

 戦争が無数の壊れた陶器を生むこと、その一つ一つの陶器に命が宿っていることを、ベトナム戦争従軍で身をもって知ったのかも知れない。この時「どうすればいい? 他になにができる?」と大統領が言ってから2年余がたつ。一手に握ったはずの国では殺戮(さつりく)が続いている。

Even if Bush should be re-elected, there is speculation that Powell might not remain in the administration.

Should this be the case, will there be anyone to apply the brakes to the second-term Bush administration?

 今回、ブッシュ氏が再選されたとしても、彼は政権を去るのではないかとの観測もなされている。その政権には、ブレーキが付くのかと心配になる。

There was a time when Powell was rumored to be considering a run for the presidency. His autobiography is titled ``My American Journey.'' One wonders if his ``journey'' on the political stage is about to end.

 かつて、大統領選への出馬もとりざたされたパウエル氏。政治の舞台での「マイ・アメリカン・ジャーニー」(自伝名)は、これで終わるのだろうか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 2(IHT/Asahi: November 3,2004)

Deeper meaning behind slain captive's words


Shosei Koda pleaded so feebly in the video supplied by his captors that I wanted to ask him why such a man had ventured into Iraq when the situation there was extremely dangerous.

Contrary to my expectations, however, I found myself deeply affected, deep down in my heart, by what he said. The impact of the hesitant words he uttered is still reverberating within me.

11月01日付
■《天声人語》

 いかにも弱々しげだった。なぜ危険なイラクにあえて行ったのか、と問いただしたくなるような気持ちにもさせられた。しかし、ビデオで遠慮がちに語る香田証生さんの言葉に、意外なほど心の奥深くを揺さぶられた。振動はつづいている。

Koda first conveyed his captors' demand that the Self-Defense Forces in Iraq be withdrawn. He said his life depended on whether the demand would be met.

``I'm sorry,'' he said. Then, he mumbled, as if talking to himself, ``After this, I want to return to Japan.''

Obviously, the simple observation left a great deal unsaid. I think he realized at that moment what he had been looking for in life.

 自衛隊撤退を求めている、という武装集団の要求を紹介し、自分の命がかかっていることを言う。「すいませんでした」と謝り、「あと、また日本に戻りたいです」と独り言のようにつぶやいた。ぼそっとした一言に万感の思いを感じとる。あのとき、彼は自分が希求していたものに気づいたのではないか。

Another young man comes to mind: the poet Kozo Takeuchi, who died as a soldier 59 years ago. He met his death at 23, a year younger than Koda.

One of his poems says in part: ``Being killed in action is pitiful/ Soldiers getting killed are pitiful/ Death comes to them suddenly/ And in a distant foreign country.'' (From an Iwanami modern library paperback with the title ``Senshi-ya Aware,'' which means death as a soldier in action is pitiful.)

 59年前、香田さんより一つ若く23歳で戦死した青年がいた。「戦死やあわれ/兵隊の死ぬるや あわれ/遠い他国で ひょんと死ぬるや」の詩を残した竹内浩三だ。彼は自分の運命を見通していた。状況はまるで違う。しかし「ながいきをしたい」と書き始める祈りのような詩は、香田さんのつぶやきと共振する(『戦死やあわれ』岩波現代文庫)。

Takeuchi and Koda met death under entirely different circumstances. Takeuchi died in battle, while Koda was beheaded. Nevertheless, it can be said that Takeuchi's prayer-like poems-he started one by expressing his desire for long life-resonate with Koda's mumble.

Koda traveled to New Zealand on a working holiday visa in January this year. He took what may have been a sudden interest in the Middle East. After staying in Israel for a while, he moved to Jordan and then took a bus into Iraq.

 香田さんは今年1月、ワーキングホリデービザでニュージーランドへ行った。突然なのかどうか、関心は中東に向いた。イスラエルにしばらく滞在したあと、ヨルダン経由でイラク入りした。

Presumably, he made the trip not with a clear end. Rather, it was a trip to look for something clear, probably something ``attesting to the meaningfulness of life,'' which happens to be what his given name in Chinese characters stands for. I believe he came to realize that continuing to live was of value in itself, and that's what made him mumble his desire to return to Japan in the video.

 明確な目的があっての旅というより、むしろ何か明確なものを探し求めての旅だったのではないか。たぶん名前のように「生の証(あかし)」を求めての。そして「日本に戻りたい」とつぶやいたとき、生きつづけること自体の価値を悟ったのではないだろうか。

Contrary to his wish, Koda's life was brutally cut short. What his captors did to him was an unforgivable and senseless thing to do.

 その生が無残にも断ち切られた。不条理との思いが募る。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 1(IHT/Asahi: November 2,2004)

Wisdom and courage saved bus passengers


Nobody would try to graft a piece of bamboo to a tree. It would simply be absurd. Even when two vastly different things can somehow be joined, the result is often disharmonious. The proverbial Japanese phrase ki-ni take-wo tsugu (grafting a bamboo piece to a tree) warns of attempting such a futile exercise.

But when 37 people stranded on the top of a tour bus in a flood during the latest typhoon tied a bamboo pole to a tree, it may not have been entirely futile--even if the crude device did not directly save their lives.

10月27日付
■《天声人語》

 「木に竹を接ぐ」とは、つなぎ合わされたものが調和しないさまや、条理の通らないことをいう。ほめられる状態ではない。しかし、台風23号による災害では、37人が無事だったのは木に竹を接いだからか、と思わせるようなことがあった。

The floodwater unleashed by Typhoon No. 23 forced the group to spend a fearful night on the bus roof after it became submerged along with other vehicles in Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture.

A newspaper photograph of the bus showed a curious object. It looked like a pole running between the bus and a nearby tree. It was too thick to be a rope. It was not a steel pipe, either. It was a bamboo pole that had been swept along in the flood.

 京都府舞鶴市で、濁流に沈むバスの上で一夜を過ごした人たちの写真が先日載った。そこには不思議なものが写っていた。バスと立ち木の間の棒状のものだ。ロープにしては太すぎる。鉄パイプでもない。実は、バスのそばに流れてきた竹だったという。

On that night of Oct. 20, the force of the rapidly flowing water threatened to topple the bus. One of the stranded passengers leapt into the water to get a rope from a vehicle that was submerged nearby. But he failed to make it and was left clinging to a tree. Fortunately, the bamboo pole came drifting by. It was promptly used as a brake, with one end held by the man clinging to the tree and the other by people on the bus.

But it was impossible for anyone to keep holding the pole indefinitely. Another man swam to the tree and tied the pole to it with shoe laces. When the water subsided, the bamboo pole was found hanging from the tree to which it was tied with two shoe laces.

 20日の夜、水の勢いでバスが流されそうになった。近くの車のロープを取ろうとして飛び込んだ1人は、行き着けず、途中の立ち木にしがみつく。流れてきた竹をバスと木の間に渡すが、両端を握り合うにも限度がある。もう1人が飛び込んで木まで行き、靴ひもで竹と木を結んだ。水が引いた時、立ち木には、2本分の靴ひもでつながれた竹がぶらさがっていた。

It was a coincidence that this bamboo pole happened to come flowing by. Still, bamboo is something closely associated with Maizuru. The city's bamboo groves are said to be the largest such acreage in Kyoto Prefecture. Local farmers still commonly use bamboo poles to dry harvested rice plants in the sun. So, it seems to me that even though the bamboo pole drifted by accidentally, it had a local flavor.

 竹は、たまたま流れてきたのだろう。しかし、舞鶴と竹とのつながりは深く、市内の竹林の面積は府で最大だという。竹は、刈り取った稲を干す稲架の横棒にも使われるそうだ。偶然だったにせよ、流れ着いた竹に、土地の色合いが映っているようだった。

There is no way we will ever know how effective that bamboo pole tied to a tree with shoelaces was in keeping the bus from toppling over.

But what is commendable is that the stranded passengers put together things they would not have thought of connecting under normal circumstances. The device they hurriedly slapped together could have been the very thing that helped keep them alive.

 木に竹を接ぎ、靴ひもを接ぐ。このつながりに、どれほど実効性があったかは分からない。しかし、平時なら出あうことのなかった物たちを接ぎ合わせ、おそらくは、そこに命をもつなぐ。

Even as my heart goes out to quake survivors still suffering in Niigata Prefecture, I believe that the wisdom, courage and fortune of those stranded in Maizuru are worth remembering, together with the single bamboo pole that helped them.

 新潟の苦境をしのびながら、舞鶴での知恵と勇気と幸運とを、一本の竹とともに記憶する。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 27(IHT/Asahi: November 1,2004)

A harvest of quotable quotes from October


Shigeyuki Yamamoto, a senior zoo keeper at the Toyama Family Park in Toyama Prefecture, proposed reviving boundaries between bears and humans. ``In the past, satoyama (woodland close to populated areas) kept bears from entering areas of human habitation. But with changes in lifestyle, people stopped tending their woodlands and allowed the rice paddies in the dales to become overgrown with pampas grass. Forests of firewood and charcoal-making trees, bamboo and cedar deteriorated. ... All that is left now to keep bears away from human territory are bushes that border people's backyards.''

10月29日付
■《天声人語》

 最近の言葉から。「かつて里山が人とクマとの境界区域だった……生活様式が変わり、里山は放置された。山あいの田はススキの原となり、薪炭林や竹林、杉林も荒れ……人家の裏薮が境界線となった」。富山市ファミリーパーク飼育課長の山本茂行さんは境界の再構築を提案する。

Supreme Court Chief Justice Akira Machida said: ``I hear complaints about `flounder judges'--so called because they are like those fish that can only look upward because of the position of their eyes. Such judges are concerned only with what their superiors think or how the higher courts might rule on cases. I should think such judges don't really exist, and I certainly wouldn't welcome them.'' The fish may not like the comparison, but Machida's point of view is clear.

 最高裁の町田顕長官が述べた。「上級審の動向や裁判長の顔色ばかりうかがう『ヒラメ裁判官』がいると言われる。私はそんな人はいないと思うが、少なくとも全く歓迎していない」。海の底からは異議も出ようが、趣旨は分かりやすい。

Manager Hiromitsu Ochiai of the Chunichi Dragons is definitely no flounder. A confirmed believer in the power of self-motivation, Ochiai told his players when a baseball strike seemed imminent: ``As baseball union members, you should go for broke in fighting for your rights. I don't care if we don't win the league pennant, nor if the Japan Series is canceled this year. There are more important things in life.''

 この人はヒラメではない。「選手会として徹底的に戦って来い。優勝や日本シリーズがなくなってもかまわない。世の中には、それ以上に大切なことがある」と、オレ竜・落合監督。

A record of Europe's dark history surfaced recently in the form of a diary of a young Jewish girl who lived in a death camp in the Nazi-run Netherlands. ``Every day, we stare at freedom from behind barbed wire ... But I must stay strong, for I would be also dead if my happiness and willpower die.''

 欧州で、暗い過去の記録が見つかった。「私たちは鉄線の陰から毎日、自由を見つめている」。ナチス占領下のオランダで、収容所の生活を記したユダヤ人少女の日記から。「でも頑張ろう。私の幸せと意志の力が消えてしまえば、私も死んでしまうから」

The present is no less terrible. A Palestinian girl was shot dead on her way to school by an Israeli soldier or the soldier's commanding officer, who is said to have fired a coup de grace on her. The girl's grieving father said: ``My daughter was neither a soldier nor a radical. I just want to ask Prime Minister Ariel Sharon: Why?''

 おぞましい現在の報告も届く。通学途中のパレスチナ人少女をイスラエル兵が射殺した。司令官がとどめを刺したともいう。「娘は戦士でも過激派でもない。シャロン(首相)にただ一言『なぜなんだ』と問いたい」と父。

Motoyuki Shibata, a translator and professor at the University of Tokyo said: ``The problem with Americans is they become fixated on the notion that they alone embody the ultimate ideal or justice in the world. And then they try to force everyone else to practice their justice.'' U.S. voters will soon decide who should be at the helm.

 アメリカが「自分たちをすでに達成された理想もしくは『正義』として固定し、他国をその正義へと向かわせようとするとき」が問題と、翻訳者で東大教授の柴田元幸さん。かじ取り役が、間もなく決まる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 29(IHT/Asahi: October 30,2004) (10/30)

Wee boy outlasted human limits in tragedy


Seventy-two hours is said to be the outer time limit for rescuing someone buried under a building destroyed in an earthquake.

Since a human being can only survive without food and water for that amount of time, the chances of successful rescue plummet when that time passes.

10月28日付
■《天声人語》

 72時間。それが、地震で崩れた建物の下敷きになった人を救助できるタイムリミットだという。人が水と食料なしで生き延びられる限界だからで、ここを過ぎると、生存救出率は急激に下がる。

But for little Yuta Minagawa, rescue came 92 hours after the initial tremors hit the Chuetsu region in Niigata Prefecture and triggered a massive landslide along Shinanogawa river. His survival is something of a miracle that defied human limits.

 92時間。これは、新潟県中越地震が起きてから、信濃川沿いの土砂崩れ現場で皆川優太ちゃんが助け出されるまでの時間だ。いわば、限界を超えた、奇跡的と言いたくなるような生還である。

Having been trapped in the mud and boulders for nearly four days, Yuta held tight to his rescuers. He was able to move his head. His legs were pitifully bare, but it was simply incredible that a mere 2-year-old had hung on to life.

The scene reminded me of another I saw the day after the 1985 JAL jumbo jet crash. A 13-year-old junior high school student, who had survived the crash, was being lifted up into a helicopter in the tight hug of a rescue worker.

 まる4日近くも土石に閉じこめられていた優太ちゃんは、救急隊員に、しっかりとしがみついた。首も、ちゃんと動いている。むき出しの脚が痛々しいが、2歳の幼子が、よくがんばったものだ。85年の日航ジャンボ機の墜落の翌日、生存していた中学生が後ろから抱きかかえられながら救助のヘリに収容される場面が、二重写しになった。

Three hours after Yuta was airlifted, a hovering helicopter picked up his 39-year-old mother, Takako, who had died. Bright orange beams from light projectors darted in the night.

When the rescue team eventually took a break, the survival of 3-year-old Mayu had yet to be confirmed.

 それから3時間後に、優太ちゃんの母、貴子さん(39)が、上空で待機するヘリコプターに収容された。あたりは闇に包まれ、投光器からオレンジの光が行き交った。そして、3歳の真優(まゆ)ちゃんは、救出作業が中断したときまでには、安否は確認されなかった。

The mixed team of Tokyo and Nagano firefighters, police officers and Self-Defense Forces troops braved large aftershocks in their dangerous and difficult mission. They used an electromagnetic life detection device called Sirius.

When the report came that a human voice could be heard from the buried car, I prayed with all my heart for the safe rescue of all three. But my prayers were not heard.

 東京や長野の消防、警察、自衛隊などの救助チームが、たびたび余震が起きる中、危険で困難な作業を続けた。「シリウス」と名付けられた電磁波による人命探査装置も使われた。車の方で声がしたと報じられたときには、ひたすら、3人そろっての救出を念じた。しかし、それはかなわないことだった。

The cruel reality of what separates life from death tears at my heart. The ripples on Shinanogawa river, glistening white in the floodlight, blurred in my eyes.

 生と死の分かれの過酷さに胸を突かれる。投光に白く輝く、テレビ画面の信濃のさざ波が、ぼやけて見えた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 28(IHT/Asahi: October 29,2004) (10/29)

Volunteers proving invaluable in Niigata


A week after the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995, I was in a helicopter headed for the disaster zone. As soon as the chopper lifted off from Osaka Airport, I could see numerous blue dots below. These were blue tarps covering damaged buildings, and they dotted the landscape as far west as the eye could see.

10月26日付
■《天声人語》

Click here to find out more!

 阪神大震災から1週間ほど後のことだ。ヘリコプターで被災地の方へと向かった。大阪空港を離陸したとたん、無数の青い点々が視野に飛び込んできた。壊された家々の屋根を覆う青いシートは、はるか西の方へ果てしなく続いていた。

On Saturday, the Chuetsu region of Niigata Prefecture was devastated by a powerful earthquake. This time, however, I have not seen too many of those blue dots in aerial pictures of some of the hardest-hit areas.

I assumed at first that this was because it was still too soon after the disaster, and that the blue dots-a symbol of the first step toward reconstruction-would appear in time. However, I am not so sure anymore.

 新潟県中越地震では、被害の集中した地域の映像に青い点々はあまり見られないようだ。まだ被災から間がないからで、いずれは、復旧への一歩を示す青い点が現れると思っていた。しかし、そうはならないかも知れない。

An evacuation order has been issued to all Yamakoshi village residents. Road access to and from the village has been completely cut off.

I was pained by the sight of evacuees staring out the windows of a Self-Defense Forces helicopter, watching their village fade in the distance.

``Winter will bring heavy snowfalls. Just thinking about it makes me panicky,'' said one villager. It is only natural that people would feel the same if reconstruction is not likely to begin until next spring.

 道路が寸断された山古志村では、全村に避難の指示が出された。自衛隊のヘリの窓から、遠ざかる村を見る人たちの姿が痛々しい。「これから雪が激しく降る冬が来る。それを考えるとパニックになります」。来春以降まで復旧のつち音が聞けない恐れがあるとなれば、こうした思いにかられるのも、もっともだ。

What are the arrangements for taking care of all those people who had no choice but to leave their village? I just hope there is enough food to go around and that heating is sufficient. If adequate relief is not provided to all the stricken communities, some survivors may well undeservedly suffer further.

 やむなく村を離れる人々を受け入れる態勢はできるのだろうか。被災者全体に、食事や暖房が行き届くかどうかも気になる。地域によって大きな差ができるようでは、被災者が、もう一度被災することになりかねない。

How best to mitigate their anxiety and sense of helplessness? There are limits to what individual municipalities and villages can do. The central government must assume responsibility. How to deal with disasters and their victims is also a test for society itself.

 被災者の不安や不便を、どう減らすのか。自治体にできることには限りがあり、国の責任は重い。災害や被災者との向き合い方では、この社会のありようも問われる。

In the Hanshin region, I felt the blue dots symbolized the anguished plight of people who were reduced to disconnected dots. However, surrounding each dot were numerous volunteers working hard to restore the broken connection.

This time, too, volunteers will prove invaluable in joining the dots together.

 阪神間の青い点々は、絆(きずな)を断ち切られ、一つ一つの点にさせられた人々の辛(つら)い境遇の象徴とも見えた。しかし、その点の周りでは、多くのボランティアの人たちが、絆の再生に尽力していた。今回も点と点を結ぶ貴重な力になるだろう。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 26(IHT/Asahi: October 28,2004) (10/28)

Earthquakes sent villagers back into isolation


Life for residents of Yamakoshi, Niigata Prefecture, used to be especially hard in winter. Snow piled up to 4 meters on the ground, and the mountain village became an isolated community in the middle of nowhere.

Before World War II, residents began digging a tunnel. The work, completed 16 years later in 1949, connected Yamakoshi to the nearest neighboring village by road.

The Nakayama Tunnel is about 900 meters long. Among the tunnels dug by manual labor in Japan, it is said to be the longest.

10月25日付
■《天声人語》

 山間の豪雪地帯で、冬には4メートルも積もる雪に孤絶の状態に置かれてきた。村人は戦争を挟んで16年かけてトンネルを掘り、1949年、隣村への道が通じた。新潟県の山古志村の中山隧道(ずいどう)は全長約900メートル、人力だけで掘られたトンネルとしては日本最長という。

Yamakoshi owes its postwar transformation to former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka. The village was part of Tanaka's electoral district, which gets buried in deep snow in winter. Tanaka upgraded a local road to a national highway and implemented public works projects.

The road representing the footsteps of Tanaka, a local hero, was badly damaged in Saturday's earthquakes. Aerial photographs of Yamakoshi show violently slashed mountainsides and roads in ribbons everywhere.

These pictures raise concerns about the fate of the villagers who are isolated like their predecessors.

 戦後、この村を変えたのは田中角栄元首相だった。選挙区である豪雪地帯の地方道を国道にし、拡充整備した。その威光の足跡もこんどの地震で大きく破壊された。上空から写されるその村は、山肌が荒々しく削られ、道路は至る所で寸断されている。以前のように孤絶に追い込まれた村民の安否が気がかりだ。

Coming on the heels of damage done by torrential rains and typhoons, the series of earthquakes serve as a powerful reminder that the fate of those who live in Japan can often be cruel. The mountains and rivers that make a picturesque landscape can turn on us by unleashing muddy streams and landslides.

 豪雨や台風で傷だらけになったところに強震である。日本列島に住むことの過酷さをつくづく思い知らされる。美しい山河が一転して、濁流や土砂流に変じて私たちに襲いかかる。

Modernism poet Junzaburo Nishiwaki (1894-1982) once wrote in praise of his birthplace, the city of Ojiya near the epicenter: ``Shall I compare this beautiful field/ To a tapestry woven by sunrise and sunset/ From the mountains and rivers I see from here?''

The poet won fame as the author of a collection of poems titled ``Tabibito Kaerazu'' (A traveler who does not return home). But he did return to his hometown when he was dying.

The window of his sickroom commanded a sweeping view of Mount Yamamotoyama and the Shinanogawa river, with three tall mountains known as ``Echigo (Niigata) Sanzan'' in the background.

He passed away as he looked at the scene, according to ``Kaiso-no Nishiwaki Junzaburo,'' a Mita Bungaku Library volume tracing the life of Nishiwaki.

 「山あり河あり、暁と夕陽とが綴れ織る この美しき野」。モダニズムの詩人西脇順三郎はかつて故郷、小千谷市を、そううたった。『旅人かへらず』の詩集が有名な彼だが、死を前にして故郷に帰った。越後三山を背景に、山本山と信濃川を一望する美しい風景を見ながら逝った(『回想の西脇順三郎』三田文学ライブラリー)。

Ojiya was badly damaged by the quakes. Mountainsides crumbled, roads were buried under tons of earth and rocks that slid down the slopes, and houses collapsed. A 77-year-old woman as well as elementary school children, aged 11 and 12, were among those killed. Many other people are still living in shelters.

 彼の故郷も大きな被害を受けた。山は崩れ、道路が埋まり、家々が倒壊した。77歳の女性や12歳、11歳の小学生らが犠牲になった。多くの人が避難所生活を強いられている。

Nishiwaki liked to quote lines from a poem by Chinese poet Li Bo when he was asked to write something down on a piece of fancy paper:

``When I raised my head (from my bed) to look out the window/ I saw a shining moon on the mountain ridge/ But my head came down involuntarily/ As the moon stirred my nostalgia for my home.''

I urge the authorities to make haste to rescue the quake victims of Nishizaki's beautiful birthplace and to reconstruct it.

 「挙頭望山月 低頭思故郷」。西脇が好んで色紙にしたのが、李白の詩だという。美しい故郷の人々の救助と復興とが急がれる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 25(IHT/Asahi: October 27,2004) (10/27)

Helping hands keep quake damage in check


``It is a big earthquake. This building is swaying wildly,'' an announcer repeated at a TV station in Niigata Prefecture. Watching the screen, I could see the set and its equipment swaying badly at the station, as described by the announcer.

In Tokyo, we felt the first thudding minor tremors dozens of seconds later, and then big and lengthy horizontal sways followed suit.

10月24日付
■《天声人語》

 「今大きく揺れています」。新潟のテレビ局で、アナウンサーが繰り返している。局内の揺れが見える。東京では、その何十秒か後にガタガタッと初期微動を感じ、それに続いて大きな横揺れが長く続いた。

A news ticker appeared at the bottom of the TV screen, reporting that the earthquake had registered an intensity of upper 6 on the Japanese scale of 7. Reading that, I recalled images from the Niigata Earthquake of 40 years ago, one of the most disastrous quakes that have hit Japan since the end of World War II.

I especially remember the billows of black smoke filling the sky and the long bridge that snapped and fell into the Shinanogawa river, a major waterway in Niigata.

Later Saturday, I learned that the the epicenter was close to Ojiya, an interior city located away from the Sea of Japan, and that there were three strong tremors that registered an intensity of upper 6.

I worried that the houses and precarious slopes that had withstood the first tremor might have given in to the following tremors at one sweep.

 テレビの画面に流れる「震度6強」というテロップに、戦後有数の大災害となった40年前の新潟地震の映像を思い出した。天を覆うような黒煙、信濃川に落ち込んだ大きな橋……。やがて、震源に近いのは内陸部の小千谷周辺で、震度6強を3度も繰り返したと知る。最初の揺れには持ちこたえていた家屋やがけが一気に崩れたのではないかと恐れる。

The news that the bullet train Toki jumped the tracks of the Joetsu Shinkansen Line struck me as unbelievable for a moment.

Since regular service began on the nation's first bullet train line, the Tokaido Shinkansen Line, in 1964, the year when the Niigata Earthquake struck, I had never heard of a derailment involving a Shinkansen train.

I learned later that the derailed superexpress did not overturn. Still, it is easy to imagine how horrified the passengers aboard the Toki were.

 上越新幹線の「とき」が脱線したとの報には、一瞬耳を疑った。東海道新幹線が開業したのは新潟地震の起きた64年だが、それ以来、脱線などという事態は聞いたことがない。後で、脱線したが転覆はしていないと分かったものの、列車内の恐怖はどれほどだったか。

In the case of a natural disaster, the worst damage often occurs in areas that are the least accessible. Given this possibility, I prayed that the police and firefighters or the troops from the Self-Defense Forces would reach the most stricken areas as soon as possible to begin rescue activities.

 自然災害では、なかなか状況がつかめない場所に被害が集中している恐れもある。警察や消防、あるいは自衛隊が、一刻も早く最も強く揺れた地域に行き着き、救出活動が進むようにと願った。

What is viewed as the oldest record of an earthquake in Japan can be found in ``Nihon Shoki,'' known as the Chronicles of Japan. An imperially commissioned work, this is the nation's oldest ``authentic'' history.

An entry refers to a temblor that struck the province of Kawachi, now part of Osaka Prefecture, in July of the fifth year of Emperor Ingyo's reign, the equivalent of August in 416 when the lunar-solar calendar adjustment is made. Old documents show that the Kawachi earthquake that struck more than 1,500 years ago was followed by nearly 10,000 quakes in later years. (All this is according to an Iwanami paperback titled ``Shin Jishin-no Hanashi'' that translates roughly as ``New tales about earthquakes.'')

 日本の地震の記録で最も古いものは日本書紀にあるという。「(允恭天皇)五年秋七月丙子朔己丑、(河内国)地震」。1500年以上前のことだが、その後に1万近い地震が古い文書に記録されている(『新・地震の話』岩波新書)。

It may not be too far-fetched to say that this country is destined to suffer from earthquakes. Nothing can stop them from occurring, and there is no hope that their coming can be predicted accurately.

But it is possible to keep the damage from spreading if people join their hands quickly.

 この国の宿命ともいえる地震が起きることは防げない。予知も難しい。しかし、迅速に力を合わせれば、被害の拡大を防ぐことはできる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 24(IHT/Asahi: October 26,2004) (10/26)

Brushing up on Japan's long history of art


An item on display at an exhibition caught my attention. What was intriguing about the baked-clay vessel was that its handles had what looked like a pattern of leaping flames.

It was a product from the Jomon Period, which started somewhere between 700 and 800 years B.C. and lasted for several thousand years. The artifact is known as kaen doki (flaming crockery)-a name that presumably takes into account the pattern on its handles. The pattern made such an outstanding image that the whole pot almost seemed to be enveloped by leaping flames.

A vast array of artifacts and art objects, ranging from earthenware to Ukiyo-e woodblock prints, are on display in the ``Highlights of Japanese Art'' exhibition that is under way in the main hall of the Tokyo National Museum in the capital's Ueno district. The exhibition was set up to provide a bird's-eye view of the history of Japanese art.

10月18日付
■《天声人語》

 土器の取っ手の所が、燃え上がる火のようにも見える。縄文時代の火焔(かえん)土器は、いわば形を成した炎なのか。土器から浮世絵までを一つの階に展示した「日本美術の流れ」が、東京上野の東京国立博物館の本館で公開されている。

The exhibits, including national treasures and important cultural properties, are presented in chronological order. Thus, there are sections dealing with the kofun (ancient burial mounds) period, the arrival and rise of Buddhism, and court arts during the Heian Period (794-1185) and the Muromachi Period (1333-1573). There are also displays focused on Zen, tea ceremony, warrior armor, Noh and Kabuki.

The chronological arrangement makes it easy to get a good overview and understanding of the history of Japanese art. It also helps visitors focus their attention on certain periods and styles of art. This greatly informative exhibition left me impressed with the profundity and stillness of Japanese art. I was also struck by the enormity of the Asian Continent's influence.

 古墳の時代、仏教の伝来と興隆、平安、室町の宮廷美術、禅、茶、武士の装い、能、歌舞伎――。国宝や重要文化財も並ぶ。年代順なので、大きな流れがつかみやすい。特定の時代や部門への入り口にもなる。流れをたどって改めて思うのは、日本で花開いた美の深さや静けさと、大陸の存在の大きさだ。

I proceeded into the adjoining Heisei Hall to look at ``Treasures of Ancient China,'' which runs through Nov. 28. Organizers said a number of artifacts and art pieces equal to national treasures were assembled for the exhibition-pieces that were amassed through the continent's long, long history.

There were images of Buddha wearing various facial expressions. A king-like mantle--thousands of pieces of jade woven together with gold thread--also stood out among the exhibits.

While I was impressed by these items, I was also charmed by images of people who were neither Buddha nor a king.

 隣り合う平成館の「中国国宝展」(11月28日まで)にも入る。悠久の歴史が育んだ国宝級の文物を多数集めたという。さまざまな表情をたたえた仏像や、数千の玉を金でつないだ玉衣にもひかれるが、仏や王ではない人物像にも魅力があった。

One example was a terra-cotta image of a rowing man--one of the numerous statues unearthed in the tomb of famous Emperor Shi of the Qin Dynasty.

The man is seated, with both legs stretched out in front. He holds something with both hands that is stretched close to the toes. Inexplicably, I felt an affinity toward this man who has been rowing for more than 2,000 years.

 例えば、秦の始皇帝の陵から出土した「船漕(こ)ぎ俑(よう)」だ。両足を前に伸ばして座る男が、足先近くまで伸ばした両手で何かを握っている。2千年以上も、ろを漕ぎ続けてきたのか。なぜか親近感を覚えた。

My imagination also took flight when I saw a Tang Dynasty (618-907) terra-cotta image of a woman of ample proportions wearing ankle-length clothing. She stands calmly, balanced over her left foot.

Images of full-bodied women are said to have gained popularity after the reign of Emperor Xuanzong. The other day, stories about a Japanese a court official who had traveled to China as a member of a Japanese mission during the emperor's reign in the Tang Dynasty reported that this monarch, saddened by the emissary's death, gave him a special burial. I wonder if the emissaries like the student-turned-court-official had met any of the women who posed for these statues.

 唐の時代の「女子俑」は、40センチ強の、ふっくらした女性の立像だ。長衣をまとい、左足に重心を傾けて悠然とたたずむ。豊満な形の俑は、玄宗皇帝の治世になってから、特に好まれたという。玄宗皇帝が、客死した日本の遣唐使を特別に埋葬したとの報が先日流れた。遣唐使は、こうした女性たちとも出会ったのだろうか。

On my way home from Ueno, I pondered what I had seen, thinking about those who helped bridge Japan and the Asian Continent.

 本館の「流れ」とも重ねながら、大陸との架橋となった人たちの足跡をしのんだ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 18(IHT/Asahi: October 25,2004) (10/25)

Maintaining solidarity in the face of disaster


A news photo taken in the aftermath of the latest typhoon, the likes of which I have not seen before, shows a group of men and women huddled together on the roof of a bus which is almost completely submerged in muddy water. It looks like it could be swallowed up at any moment.

In a tree nearby, two people are holding on for dear life.

It was simply amazing that these people survived this overnight ordeal.

In the face of a devastating natural disaster, humans are really helpless. Yet, beneath their helplessness, there is also tremendous capacity for survival.

10月22日付
■《天声人語》

 これまで見たことの無いような現場写真だった。茶色の濁流にのまれそうなバスの屋根に、大勢の男女が座っている。近くの木には2人がしがみついている。よく一晩中流されず、無事でいてくれたものだ。災害の恐怖と人間の非力、そして、その非力な人間の秘めている底力を感じる。

When the waters began to rise in Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture, it appears the bus passengers knew they had to help one another and fight it out together. Men smashed a window with a hammer, tied curtains to make a rope and pulled their fellow passengers up onto the roof.

 京都府舞鶴市で、水没するバスに乗り合わせた人たちは、励まし合い、心を一つにして災難と戦ったようだ。男性がハンマーで窓ガラスを割り、カーテンをロープのようにして乗客を屋根に引っ張り上げた。

Atop the bus, a woman, a former nurse, started singing the upbeat song ``Sukiyaki'' and invited everyone to join in. Next, she switched to ``Musunde Hiraite'' (Close your fist, open your fist), a popular children's song that is accompanied by hand movements. And when coldness began to set in, everyone linked arms and huddled close together for warmth shouting, ``Wasshoi, wasshoi'' (heave-ho).

 元看護師の女性を中心に「上を向いて歩こう」を歌う。「むすんでひらいて」の歌は手の運動を兼ねて、寒さしのぎには「わっしょいわっしょい」と肩組みもしたという。

When trapped in a small space after an accident, such as in a ship or airplane, people are said to instinctively understand their helplessness as individuals. This tends to create a bond among survivors. For the bus passengers, being stranded in the flood waters was probably akin to being in a shipwreck.

Still, I am truly impressed that they were able to stay calm and continue to maintain their sense of solidarity while their lives hung precariously amid the swirling waters in utter darkness.

 船や飛行機のような閉ざされた乗り物の事故では、一人だけではどうにもならないとの思いが人々の心をつなぐことがあるという。濁流に襲われたバスは、難破する船のようだったのかも知れない。それにしても、暗闇の中、足元からはい寄る生命の危機に脅かされながら、これだけの冷静さと一体感を保ち続けたことに感心した。

Typhoon No. 23, a record 10th typhoon to make landfall in Japan this season, left a trail of devastation. In Muroto, Kochi Prefecture, high waves smashed a concrete seawall and destroyed homes, killing three people.

 過去最多の10番目の日本上陸台風となった23号は、列島各地に甚大な被害をもたらした。高知県室戸市では、コンクリートの防潮堤が高波で壊れて住宅を直撃し、3人が死亡した。

Did this seawall still have the structural sturdiness to withstand such waves?
An evacuation order for local residents was issued about an hour after the homes had been destroyed.

If administrative authorities are lax in preparing for and responding to disasters, even the tremendous human capacity for survival is of little worth.

 この防潮堤に、大波に耐えるだけの強さは残っていたのだろうか。避難勧告が出たのは、住宅が壊れてから1時間ほども後だった。行政の、日頃からの備えと迅速な対応がなければ、人間の底力も奮いようがない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 22(IHT/Asahi: October 23,2004) (10/23)

U.S. media have an eye on candidates' blinks


A Chicago train station scene in the early 20th century left an indelible impression on Kafu Nagai, the author of ``Amerika Monogatari'' (America story).

``What avid newspaper readers these Americans are,'' he observes, noting that every single person waiting for a train clutched a newspaper in hand, devouring the pages with ``fearsome'' eyes.

10月21日付
■《天声人語》

 20世紀初頭の米国シカゴで、「何という新聞好きの国民であろうか」と驚嘆したのは、永井荷風だった。新聞を持たずに汽車を待つ人は皆無で、皆恐ろしい目で新聞を読みあさっている、と(『あめりか物語』)。

With the eventual addition of radio and television, the U.S. media have since become much more diversified. But they remain an ``empire'' all the same that continues to wield tremendous influence. The media, in fact, can even determine the outcome of something really big like presidential elections.

 その後、ラジオ、そしてテレビが加わった。多様になったとはいえ、メディア帝国は揺るがず、影響力を振るい続ける。とりわけ大統領選のような大きな催事では、勝敗を左右することもしばしばだ。

Television media especially have transformed this national ``event.'' Seemingly trivial details have become crucial objects of public scrutiny. Four years ago, for instance, blinking became that sort of issue in the presidential TV debate series between Al Gore and George W. Bush.

Based on analyses of past TV debate performances by presidential candidates, a psychologist posited that whoever blinked more would lose the election. In the 2000 debate, Bush far outblinked Gore.

 テレビが選挙戦を変質させもした。一見つまらないことも、重要なこととして注目される。4年前のゴア対ブッシュのテレビ討論では、まばたきが話題になった。過去のテレビ討論の分析から、たくさんまばたきをした方が負ける、という仮説を心理学者が打ち出していた。ブッシュ候補がまばたき数でゴア候補を圧倒した。

But even though the validity of this theory became suspect with Bush's victory, counts were taken again for this year's presidential debate series.

In the first round, Bush set a phenomenal record for blinking. In Round Two, however, the incumbent did a good job of controlling the frequency to about a half that of Senator John Kerry's.

 だが、選挙結果はブッシュ勝利で、仮説にかげりが見えた。今回もまばたき数が計算された。1回目の討論の締めくくりではブッシュ候補が驚異的なまばたき数を記録した。しかし次の討論では、ケリー候補の半分におさえる健闘をしたそうだ。

Newspapers declare which candidate they endorse, in order to assert their difference from the rest of the media. The New York Times has endorsed Kerry, lauding the senator's ``wide knowledge and clear thinking.'' The Chicago Tribune stands by Bush, ``the man of action,'' saying, ``He (Kerry) is more about plans and process than solutions. He is better suited to analysis than to action.''

 新聞は支持を明確にして、他のメディアとの違いを打ち出す。例えば「広い知識と明快な思考」のケリー候補を支持するニューヨーク・タイムズに、「ケリーは行動ではなく分析の人だ」と「行動の人」ブッシュを推すのはシカゴ・トリビューンだ。

Election Day is drawing near amid an overwhelming flood of information about the candidates-ranging from how often they blink to their policies and personalities. I hope American voters will judge what they see with those ``fearsome'' eyes that so impressed Nagai.

 まばたき数から政策、人柄まで膨大な情報があふれるなかで投票日が近づいている。荷風が描写するように、「恐ろしい目」でもって是非を見抜いてほしい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 21(IHT/Asahi: October 22,2004) (10/22)

Deconstructing Jackie Derrida in my own way


How would you react if someone got your name wrong? Displeased? Offended? Some people just let it pass.

Once, I broke out in a cold sweat when I realized that I had misspelled the given name of an eminent philosopher in an interview story.

I called him and apologized. He accepted my apology politely, saying, ``Things like that often happen.''

10月20日付
■《天声人語》

 自分の名前を間違えられて、不快に思う人とあまり気にしない人がいる。高名な哲学者の名前のつづりを間違えて書いてしまい、冷や汗をかいたことがあった。後に謝罪すると、彼は「よくあること」といったふうに穏やかに応対してくれた。

The victim of my carelessness was Jacques Derrida, the French philosopher who died the other day at age 74.

In my story, I had spelled Jacques the English way. Of course, I should have spelled it the French way. When I learned later that his real given name was Jackie, an American name, I thought my mistake might not have been so bad.

 先日、74歳で亡くなったフランスの哲学者ジャック・デリダ氏である。インタビュー記事でジャックを英語風に表記したのだが、もちろんフランス語であるべきだった。彼の本名が、ジャッキーというアメリカ風だったことを後日知り、複雑な思いにとらわれもした。

Derrida was one of the world's most influential philosophers in the second half of the 20th century.

Since his death, I have been wondering why his ``deconstruction theory'' was so lionized. To an ignorant amateur like me, one possible answer may lie in the fact that his esoteric writings can be rendered into plain precepts for life.

 20世紀後半、最も影響力の大きい哲学者のひとりだった。彼の哲学がなぜあれほどもてはやされたか。死後、しばしば考える。著書の難解さにもかかわらず、意外に平易な「処世訓」に焼き直すことができるのも一因か、と門外漢は勝手に思う。

Let me give an example. If someone challenging Derrida's views starts off saying angrily, ``To speak without worrying about being misunderstood ...,'' the philosopher could cut him off by asserting that ``what people say is all based on misunderstandings.''

Inherent in Derrida's philosophy was the premise that there were no such things as orthodox interpretations or established facts.

 たとえば誰かが「誤解を恐れずにいえば……」と気色ばんで発言する。デリダなら「すべては誤解の上にある」とかわすだろう。正統な解釈、確固とした真実などない、という前提から彼は考え始める。

Let me cite the example of a man nearing death. If he was satisfied with the way he had lived, he would say, ``I have seen everything worth seeing.''

Likewise, Derrida believed that humankind had seen everything and had thought everything out already. This premise was the starting point of his philosophical inquiry. He believed that a philosopher's job was not to add something to the stock of human knowledge but instead to shift the contexts of thought.

 あるいは「見るべきほどのことは見つ」と人生を振り返るとする。デリダは、人類はすべてのことを見尽くし、考え尽くしたという前提から出発する。哲学者は何か新しい知見を加えるのではなく、思考の文脈をずらすことしかできない、と。

Nowadays, I see many books of philosophy on sale at bookstores. Perhaps the increasingly unstable state of the world is driving people to look for something to count on spiritually.

To put it my way, Derrida would say to readers of philosophical works, ``Don't be afraid of misinterpretations.''

 このごろ本屋で哲学書をよく見かける。不安定さを増す世界で、よりどころを求める気持ちが強まっているのか。誤解を恐れずにいえば、「誤読を恐れるな」がデリダ風の哲学の勧めである。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 20(IHT/Asahi: October 21,2004) (10/21)

U.S. media should relay `global public opinion'


A recent cartoon in the French daily Le Monde shows a person, whose round head represents the Earth, looking in horror at a big, mean-looking elephant running with a gun slung across its fat torso.

10月19日付
■《天声人語》

 太い胴体にガンベルトを巻きつけ、ピストルを差した巨象が恐ろしい形相で走っている。それを、地球の形の顔をした人が怖そうに見ている。

The headline of the article with the cartoon says, ``America Yes, Bush No.'' The elephant is the official mascot of the Republican Party of the United States.

The Asahi Shimbun recently ran the results of an opinion poll conducted in 10 countries about how they view the United States. The headline of the story with the cartoon pretty much summed up the overall poll results. But two nations deviated from the ``norm.''

 最近の仏ルモンド紙に載ったイラストだ。象は、アメリカの共和党の象徴で、見出しは「アメリカはイエス ブッシュはノー」。本紙でも報じた、対米意識についての10カ国での共同世論調査の記事である。一言でまとめれば見出し通りだが、平均値から相当離れた国もあった。

In Israel, where 71 percent of respondents said they preferred U.S. President George W. Bush, the Haaretz newspaper noted, ``The Israeli public will continue to see him (Bush) as the man who holds the umbrella on rainy days.''

The Israeli people are not especially interested in Bush's attitude to environmental quality or the United Nations, the Haaretz reporter wrote. ``All they want to know is that the Americans are on their side.''

 「ブッシュ大統領のことを、雨の日に傘を差し出してくれる人だとみなし続けるだろう」。71%がブッシュ氏が「好き」と答えたイスラエルの、ハアレツ紙の記事だ。環境問題や、国連に対するブッシュ氏の姿勢にはあまり関心がなく、「イスラエル人が知りたいのは、米国が味方かどうかだけである」

Russia followed Israel with 44 percent of respondents favoring Bush to win. To explain why, the Moscow News referred to President Vladimir Putin's attempts to concentrate power in his hands by changing the Constitution to crack down on Chechen dissidents. ``Did President Bush ever try to encroach upon the U.S. Constitution?'' the paper asked.

 イスラエルに次ぎ、44%が「好き」と答えたのはロシアだ。モスクワ・ニュース紙は、プーチン大統領が、チェチェン問題で憲法を変えてまで中央集権を強めようとしていることに絡め「ブッシュ氏は憲法まで改定しようとしただろうか」と書く。

The writer concluded, ``Why did it not occur to him, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, to abolish governor elections? ... And while Russian citizens look for the answers to those questions in their consciousness, Russia again falls far behind all the others and the U.S. model comes out like a distant star on the horizon.''

 なぜ9・11の後でも米国は州知事選挙を廃止しないのか、などの問いを投げかけて、こう結ぶ。「ロシア人が、こんな疑問への答えを探しているうちは、米国というモデルは水平線の彼方(かなた)に輝く星のように見えるのだ」

The good feelings people around the world have for America were justly earned by Americans throughout the country's years of history. To squander them would be a terrible loss, not only for America but for the rest of the world as well.

I can only pray that the U.S. media ensures that the American public gets to hear this ``global public opinion.''

 米国人への高い好感度は、長い歴史の積み重ねで得られた財産だ。食いつぶすようでは、世界にとっても大きな損失になる。米国のメディアには、この「世界世論」を、あまねく伝えてもらいたい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 19(IHT/Asahi: October 20,2004) (10/20)

Minamata victims deserve a sincere apology


Novelist Tsutomu Mizukami, who died last month, first learned the details of the Minamata mercury poisoning case in 1959. Watching a TV program reporting on the damage done to the health of many local residents, he thought: ``This is a murder case unfolding before the masses in broad daylight, with no attempt at hiding. There must be culprits somewhere.''

10月16日付
■《天声人語》

 先月亡くなった作家の水上勉さんが水俣病と出合ったのは、1959年、昭和34年だった。テレビで被害の状況を見て「これは、白昼堂々と、大衆の面前で演ぜられている殺人事件ではないか。どこかに犯人がいるはずだ」と思った。

The next day, the novelist left for Minamata, the scene of the tragedy in Kumamoto Prefecture, where he visited patients and their families and made a tour of the plant under suspicion. In the end, he became convinced that ``nothing but the waste water flowing out of the plant could be responsible for the disease.''

The conviction led him to write ``Shiranui-kai Engan'' (On the shores of the Sea of Shiranui), a mystery novel set in the fictional city of Minakata. I remember a ghastly scene where crows, stricken with a mysterious disease, crazily pick at human corpses.

 翌日、水俣に向かう。患者・家族や問題の工場を巡り歩いた。そして犯人は「工場の廃液以外に考えられない」と確信する。「水潟」市を舞台に、奇病にかかったカラスが死体にむしゃぶりつく場面などを描いた推理小説「不知火海沿岸」を発表した。

By this time, tests had confirmed that doses of waste water from the plant produced symptoms of Minamata disease in cats, and a research team from Kumamoto University had pointed to organic mercury in the waste water as the likely cause of the disease. But it was not until three years after the disease's ``official'' discovery that these scientific findings were reported.

 既に、この頃には、工場排水を投与したネコの発症が確認されたり、熊本大の研究班が有機水銀説を報告したりしていた。水俣病の「公式発見」から3年が過ぎていた。

The Supreme Court ruled last Friday that the central government and the Kumamoto prefectural government had been at fault for the outbreak of Minamata disease. The decision was handed down in a suit filed by patients uncertified for official assistance, who had moved from the shores of the Sea of Shiranui to the Kansai district, and the bereaved families of dead patients.

Minamata disease is said to be the first pollution-related ailment in postwar Japan. This makes the top court's verdict greatly significant and weighty. The national government and the Kumamoto prefectural government should give fresh thought to the tremendous damage done by the disease and offer a sincere apology to all patients and their families.

 不知火海沿岸から関西に移り住んだ水俣病の未認定患者と遺族が提訴した裁判で、最高裁が、国と県の行政責任を認める判決を出した。水俣病は、戦後の公害の原点と言われる。判決の意義は大きく、重い。県と国は、甚大な被害を改めて思い、心から患者・家族に謝るべきだろう。

Nearly half a century has passed since the disease was ``officially'' discovered. Michiko Ishimure, who is still continuing to write about the tragedy of Minamata, says the years have been too cruel for patients. Crushed by the cruel years herself, she has completed her Noh play ``Shiranui'' in desperation.

The drama casts Shiranui as the daughter of the dragon god. Shiranui and her younger brother sacrifice their lives to detoxify the sea. The verse that describes her appearance to perform the role goes: ``From the bottom of the sea, I have come/ Not to what I dreamed about but to the real shore.''

This verse is used to conclude the author's afterword to Volume III of her complete works, which also includes ``Kugai Jodo'' (Pure land in sea of suffering), an account of the tragedy that catapulted her to nationwide prominence.

 「公式発見」から半世紀近くの時が流れた。水俣を書き続ける作家、石牟礼道子さんは「あまりに苛烈な歳月に押しひしゃがれたはて」に、能「不知火」を仕上げたという。竜神の娘の不知火が、弟と共に、身を犠牲にして海の毒をさらう。「苦海浄土」などを収めた全集第3巻のあとがきは、不知火の登場場面の詩行で結ばれていた。「夢ならぬうつつの渚に/海底より参り候」

We can see that she wrote the drama as a requiem for those who were thrown into the sea of suffering.

 苦海に投げ出された、すべての命への鎮魂の思いが込められている。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 16(IHT/Asahi: October 19,2004) (10/19)

Overseas volunteers gain personal growth


Residents of the Marshall Islands in the Western Pacific are known to work meticulously to clean up fallen leaves or dig up weeds. In contrast, cans, bottles, plastic containers and Styrofoam items are often left by the wayside-those items are not considered garbage in the conventional sense.

10月11日付
■《天声人語》

 マーシャル諸島の人たちは、落ち葉や雑草の掃除はよくするという。しかし缶、瓶やプラスチック容器、発泡スチロールなどの清掃はあまりしない。昔ながらの「ゴミ」とは思えないらしい。

A report to this effect has been filed by a member of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV). One may dismiss the complaint as a trifling matter, but volunteers trying to enlighten the islanders on environmental issues take it seriously.

They know that the islanders' questionable perception of garbage is rooted in their culture and lifestyles. Even so, unable to suppress their irritation, they tend to blame the islanders and believe they are ``less enlightened when compared with Japanese.''

 ある青年海外協力隊員の報告である。ささいなことのようだが、現地で環境教育に取り組む隊員にとっては深刻な問題に映る。文化や生活習慣の違いとわかっていても、つい「日本に比べて意識が低い」といらだってしまう。

A JOCV member who went to Nepal to promote a community development program came to blows with a local young man, who under the influence of alcohol was looking for trouble. In his report, he frankly admitted he was to blame for the fight, because he was feeling haughtily: ``How dare you obstruct me when I am doing what is right for you?''

 村落開発普及員としてネパールに行った隊員は酒に酔った現地の若者にからまれてけんかをしてしまった。「あなたたちのために正しいことをしているのに、邪魔をするとは何事だ」。隊員は、そんな不遜(ふそん)な気持ちがあったことを素直に反省している。

The JOCV secretariat has published a collection of reports from its volunteers who have served abroad. Reports of successful missions mingle with cases where young people struggling in lands with different cultures ended up baffled and frustrated, and engaged in soul-searching about why they failed.

One can see that even those who did well scored their success after overcoming a variety of their own mistakes.

 事務局が集めた体験記には、成功例とともに困惑や挫折、反省の例も収められる。異文化の地で若者たちは苦闘している。成功例も種々の失敗を乗り越えてのことであることがうかがえる。

Based on her survey of JOCV members, noted social anthropologist Chie Nakane drew the following conclusions, among others: Overenthusiasm is liable to leave people more disappointed and dissatisfied; those who are slow to adapt often gain a deeper understanding of a different culture; and in a severe environment, an individual's overall personal ability comes into play, regardless of what school he went to and what occupation he is engaged in. (These points are made in Nakane's book on the possibilities and limits of Japanese, published by Kodansha.)

 隊員の実情を調査したことのある文化人類学者の中根千枝さんがかつてこんな指摘をした。がんばりすぎると落胆や不満も大きくなる。適応が遅い人の方が、異文化理解が深くなる例が少なくない。厳しい環境の下では、学歴や職業と関係なく、個人の全人格的能力がおのずと現れる(『日本人の可能性と限界』講談社)。

The JOCV offers opportunities for members to change themselves through contact with different cultures while also lending a helping hand in developing or underdeveloped countries.

The cooperation corps, which will observe the 40th anniversary of its founding next year, has sent about 26,000 people on overseas missions to date. The latest recruitment drive began on Oct. 10.

 途上国の発展に協力しながら、異文化に触れることで自分も変わっていく経験ができる。来年創設40年を迎える協力隊はこれまでに約2万6千人を海外に送り出した。昨日から、新しく派遣する隊員の募集が始まった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 11(IHT/Asahi: October 18,2004) (10/18)

Daiei beaten by the consumers it nurtured


In 1969, Isao Nakauchi, who was president of Daiei Inc. at the time, published a book titled ``Waga Yasu-uri Tetsugaku'' (My philosophy of discount retailing). Likening his distribution reforms to a proletarian revolution, he called for the establishment of ``soviets'' around the nation, and vowed to unseat the ``old regime.'' His was a radical argument that rode the current of that era.

10月15日付
■《天声人語》

 日本各地にソビエトをつくろう。流通革命をプロレタリア革命に見立て、中内功ダイエー社長(当時)が著書『わが安売り哲学』で旧勢力打破を論じたのは1969年のことだ。時代の風潮に乗った過激ともいえる主張だった。

Two years later, excerpts from his book were included in a Chikuma Shobo publication titled ``Sengo Nihon Shiso Taikei 8 Keizai no Shiso'' (Compendium of postwar Japanese philosophy Vol. 8, economic philosophy).

The editor, Mitsuharu Ito, noted that Nakauchi was arguably the first entrepreneur to stand up for the rights of consumers and challenge manufacturers.

``This was an honor I shall never forget for the rest of my life,'' Nakauchi later recalled.

 2年後、大塚久雄、宇野弘蔵らの論文とともに『戦後日本思想大系8 経済の思想』(筑摩書房)に抄録された。編者の伊東光晴氏は、消費者主権を背景にメーカーへの対抗力を打ち出そうとする主張は初めてではないか、と評した。本人は「私にとって生涯の誇りである」と振り返っている。

In 1969, the same year Nakauchi's book was published, Daiei began setting up an extensive retail network. The following year, sales topped 100 billion yen. In 1972 Daiei became the nation's top-selling retailer.

But at the zenith of his success, Nakauchi had some uneasy moments of self-doubt and turned to Mumon Yamada, a Buddhist priest of the Rinsai sect, for counsel. In ``Ryutsu Kakumei wa Owaranai'' (Distribution revolution will continue), a book from Nihon Keizai Shimbunsha, Nakauchi says his inner turmoil was put to rest by Yamada's words: ``So long as society needs your company, your company will survive.''

 著書の出た69年から全国へ多店舗展開を始め、翌年売り上げ1千億円を突破、72年には小売り売り上げ日本一になった。絶頂期に迷いも生じた中内氏は臨済宗の山田無文師に会った。師の言葉に迷いは消えたという。「社会が必要とするなら、あんたの会社はおのずと残る」(『流通革命は終わらない』日本経済新聞社)

Retracing Nakauchi's path and the history of Daiei, one clearly sees the undulations of ``consumer appetites'' in postwar Japan. Perhaps this is why people are pained to watch Daiei's present plight and struggle for rebirth.

 中内氏、そしてダイエーの歩みを振り返ると、戦後日本の「欲望」の起伏と曲折がまざまざと見えてくる。疲弊して再生の道を探る今の姿に、ひとしお苦みを感じるのはそのせいだろう。

Starting with discount drugs, Daiei expanded its merchandise to sweets and snacks. When customers were sated with sweets and wanted to stuff themselves with sukiyaki, Daiei complied by offering inexpensive beef--an epochal move that would firmly establish the company's merchandising policy.

Nakauchi never forgot the hunger he had suffered as a soldier who saw action during World War II.

 薬から始めて、お菓子へと商品を広げた。甘い物の次はすきやきを腹いっぱい食べたい、だ。それに応えた牛肉安売りはダイエー商法に画期をもたらした。戦中、中内氏の戦地での飢えの体験が常に背景にあった。

But consumers' appetites knew no limits and continued to diversify. In the end, Daiei was overwhelmed by the very revolution it has set in motion and found itself high and dry--an ironic twist of fate indeed.

 しかし消費者の欲望は拡大し、拡散していく。自ら引き起こしたはずの「革命」に乗り越えられ、取り残されるという皮肉な運命をたどった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 15(IHT/Asahi: October 16,2004) (10/16)

Look for the `bait' to take you to tomorrow


Kazuko To, a poet afflicted with Hansen's disease, wrote a poem that says: ``And I am a fish/ Rising to the bait/ That would hook me today/ To take me to tomorrow.''

This work is included in ``Kibo-no Hi-wo'' (For a spark of hope), published by Henshukobo Noa.

10月14日付
■《天声人語》

 ハンセン病と闘いながら詩作をつづけた塔和子さんの詩にこんな一節がある。〈そして私は/今日から/明日という餌に/食いつこうとしている/一尾の魚〉(『希望の火を』編集工房ノア)

Every time I hear about young people killing themselves in group suicides, I think of To, who has continued to question with a sense of wonderment why she keeps living or is forced to live.

Unlike To, those young suicides did not rise to the bait that would bridge today and tomorrow. Why? And I have to wonder why they felt the need to kill themselves in a group setting.

 集団で自殺を図る若い世代の人たちのことを聞くたびに、生きている、あるいは生かされていることの不可思議を考えつづけた彼女のことを思い浮かべる。彼女と違って彼らはなぜ「明日という餌」に食いつくことをやめてしまうのか。しかもなぜ集団なのか。

Here is a comment that ran in The Asahi Shimbun last year: ``I want to die, but I am afraid to die. Perhaps it's more like not wanting to live, rather than wanting to die.''

Apparently, they shared a sense of deep weariness with life. They also seemed to share their fear of death and wanted to avoid pain. Am I to understand, then, that they found their best solution for easing fear and pain in huddling over a charcoal cooking stove and dying together from carbon monoxide poisoning?

 「死にたいのに怖い。死にたいんじゃなくて、生きたくないだけかな」。昨年、本紙に出ていた言葉だ。生きることに疲れ果てたという思いは共有されているようだ。死が怖いこと、そして苦痛は避けたいことも。恐怖と苦痛を緩和するのが練炭による集団死だと信じられているのか。

An Internet bulletin board message I came across recently said: ``I don't know how to light a charcoal stove. Could someone please tell me?'' Someone else posted a message to the effect that he/she had purchased charcoal but was without a car, so he/she was looking for someone with a driver's licence.

The casualness of it was so out of place, it could have been a Web site for hiking aficionados or something.

 「七輪と練炭の火のおこしかたがわかりません。だれか教えてください」。最近もこんな書き込みがインターネットのサイトに見られた。練炭は手に入れたが車がない、と免許証所持者を募集する書き込みもある。ハイキングにでも誘うような気軽さに、何ともいえない違和感をおぼえる。

But this suicide pact business is apparently not unique to Japan.

According to a British news report on Net-solicited group suicide attempts, British police were tipped off that six people were planning to commit suicide together. The police stopped them from going ahead. So, Britain does have cases of group suicides, but not as many as are in Japan.

 日本だけの特異な現象ではないらしい。以前、英紙が掲載した自殺サイトについての記事には、6人が集団自殺を計画、警察に知られて思いとどまった例が出てくる。とはいえ、日本ほど頻発はしていない。

To me, the image of people coming together via the Internet and huddling together around a charcoal stove seems to mirror the loneliness and bleakness that can assault people in Japan today.

I pray that they would at least look for the bait that would ``take them to tomorrow.''

 インターネットと練炭と。集団死といっても、むしろ孤独感、寂寥(せきりょう)感に襲われる現代日本の風景だ。「明日という餌」を見つけることができないものか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 14(IHT/Asahi: October 15,2004) (10/15)

When does a "strange land" become "home"?

Poet-novelist Saisei Muroo (1889-1962) earned fame with two lines of poetry: ``Your native place is what you are to think of from afar/ It is what you are to sing about sadly from afar.''

These lines appear in ``Jojo Shokyoku Shu'' (Short lyrical poems), Muroo's early work.

10月13日付
■《天声人語》

 「ふるさとは遠きにありて思ふもの/そして悲しくうたふもの」。室生犀星の若き日の作品「抒情小曲集」の有名な詩の一節である。

They express how he felt in his hometown, Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture. He had returned there after failing to realize his dream of becoming a poet in Tokyo.

The following lines strike his sentiment home: ``Hometown is not a place to return to/ Even if I should be reduced / To begging for food in a strange land.''

 東京で詩人になろうという夢が破れ、一時金沢に帰郷した頃の心情が表れている。そしてこう続く。「よしや/うらぶれて異土の乞食(かたゐ)となるとても/帰るところにあるまじや」

I recalled Muroo's poem because the words ``strange land'' and ``home'' were mentioned in a news report about a stone epitaph that had been found in China. The epitaph was for a student who had traveled to China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) on a Japanese mission.

Based on a Xinhua News Agency report, an expert has translated the concluding part as: ``The body has been buried in a strange land, but the soul will surely find its way home.''

 この詩が思い浮かんだのは、遣唐使として海を渡り、かの地で没した人の墓誌が発見されたとの記事に、「異土」と「故郷」という文字があったからだ。新華社通信によれば、墓誌の末尾は、こうだった。「形既埋於異土、魂庶帰於故郷」。専門家の訳では「体はこの地に埋葬されたが、魂は故郷に帰るにちがいない」となるそうだ。

According to the epitaph, the deceased was someone who was sent to the Tang Dynasty together with the famed poet-scholar-administrator Abe no Nakamaro (698-770) and served Emperor Xuanzong's court with distinction, only to die of a sudden illness at the age of 36. Xuanzong gave him a special burial.

If we believe the epitaph, it seems the student lived a dramatic life, at once dazzling and saddening.

 阿倍仲麻呂と一緒に派遣され、朝廷で抜きんでた活躍をしたが36歳で急死、皇帝が特別に埋葬――。墓誌がつづった通りの生涯があったとするならば、まぶしくも悲しく、劇的な一生ということになるのだろう。

Missions to China during the Tang Dynasty were instituted by the court of Empress Suiko (554-628). They were recommended by the monks and students who had been sent to China during the Sui Dynasty (589-618), and had returned home after witnessing the demise of Sui and replacement by Tang, according to ``Saigo-no Kentoshi'' (The last mission to the Tang Dynasty, published by Kodansha).

The returnees referred to the Tang Dynasty as ``Morokoshi-no Kuni'' (Great Tang Empire). They called for regular contacts with that empire, describing it as ``a gem of a country, stable and complete with a well-developed legal system.''

 「其(か)の大唐国(もろこしのくに)は、法式(のり)備(そなわ)り定(さだま)れる珍(たから)の国なり。常に達(かよ)うべし」。遣隋使の学問僧や学問生として渡航し、隋の滅亡と唐の誕生を目の当たりにして帰国した人たちが、こう推古の朝廷に進言して、遣唐使は始まっている(『最後の遣唐使』講談社)。

To a man who served with remarkable distinction in the capital of the Tang Dynasty, a center of civilization of not only China but the whole world, the words ``strange land'' and ``home'' should have held meanings different from what they meant to Saisei Muroo.

But these are weighty and painful words in all ages and circumstances when it comes to navigating the tough sea of life.

 世界の中心の一つだった唐の都で抜群の働きを認められたとするならば、異土も、故郷も、その意味合いは、犀星の場合とは違っていたはずである。しかし、人生という生やさしくない航海にあっては、この二つの言葉は、時代や境遇を超えて通じるような、重みと切なさを備えている。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 13(IHT/Asahi: October 14,2004) (10/14)

Planting trees with seeds of hope for peace


In 1815, the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote a poem about a ginkgo leaf in Heidelberg. He sent this poem and two ginkgo leaves to a woman he was secretly in love with. The poem's first stanza goes: ``This leaf from a tree in the East/ Has been given to my garden/ It reveals a certain secret/ Which pleases me and thoughtful people.''

A Japanese translation of this poem appears in ``Kigi-wo Wataru Kaze'' (Winds through boughs), a Shinchosha book authored by Takashi Oshio.

10月10日付
■《天声人語》

 ドイツの古都ハイデルベルクで、ゲーテがイチョウの葉を1枚手にして詩を書いた。それを、晩年ひそかに愛した人へ送る。「東の国からはるばると/移し植えられたこの葉には/心ある人をよろこばす/ひそやかな意味がかくれています」(小塩節『木々を渡る風』新潮社)

Calling his own book a modest ``song of praise'' for trees, Oshio notes: ``Every leaf that has fallen on the dark earth is beautiful beyond words. ... What moves me so is the fact that each leaf is something I am seeing for the first time in life, as well as for the very last time.''

 木々へのささやかな「ほめうた」というこの本に小塩さんは記す。「黒い大地の上に散ったどの一枚も、言いようもなく美しい……どの一枚も私には生まれて初めて見るもので、生涯に二度とふたたび見ることのないものということが、心をゆり動かす」

In this season that makes people more prone to contemplate life's meaning in the falling of leaves, Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan woman who has kept up a tree-planting campaign, was awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize. Called the Green Belt Movement, her campaign began with just seven trees.

 木々の営みが胸にしみる時節に、木を植える運動を続けてきたケニアの女性への、ノーベル平和賞授与の報が届いた。ワンガリ・マータイさんのグリーンベルト運動は、7本の木を植えるところから始まった。

Maathai told BBC: ``After I heard the news I looked at peaceful Mount Kenya ... and the poor mountain where our forefathers worshipped seemed to look at me and say, `Thank you for helping me.'''

The new Nobel laureate also stressed the importance of environmental protection to peace efforts, explaining that disputes can erupt when natural resources become scarce from the destruction of the environment.

 「(受賞の)知らせを聞いた後、穏やかにそびえるケニア山を見たの……私たちの祖先が崇拝した山が、私の方を見て『助けてくれてありがとう』と言っているように見えました」(英BBC)。マータイさんは、環境は平和を守るための重要な要素だとも述べた。資源が破壊されれば、不足した資源をめぐって争いが起きるからだという。

Nobel Peace Prize recipients represent the times we live in. Controversy has arisen in the past over the selection of some winners, but one could say the qualifications were somewhat expanded this year.

The Financial Times of Britain quoted Maathi as saying, ``When we plant new trees, we plant the seeds of peace.''

Let us hope the Nobel Peace Prize will also continue to plant the seeds of hope in people around the world.

 平和賞は、その時々の世界を映す。論議を呼んだ年もあったが、今回は、賞の幅を広げたと言えるだろう。 「私たちが新しい木を植えるとき、私たちは平和の種も植えるのです」とマータイさん(英フィナンシャル・タイムズ)。平和賞もまた、世界の人々の心に、希望の種を植え続けるものであってほしい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 10(IHT/Asahi: October 13,2004) (10/13)

Taking a positive view of the Shinkansen


The era of bullet train service arrived in Japan 40 years ago this month with the opening of the Tokaido Shinkansen Superexpress Line, the first of its kind.

These days, the number of passengers annually carried by Shinkansen trains, including those in service on the lines that were built later, exceeds the nation's population.

The aggregate distance covered by the Shinkansen superexpresses in the past 40 years is equal to five round-trip journeys between the Earth and the sun.

10月04日付
■《天声人語》

 最近では、日本の人口を超える客を年ごとに運びながら、東海道新幹線が今月、開業40周年を迎えた。地球から太陽までを5往復したことになるという。

Thanks to the tireless efforts of those pursuing precise train operations over the years, delays have been shortened to 10 seconds on average per train.

Best of all, in the 40-year history of Shinkansen service, the railway companies have been spared a disastrous accident, such as a head-on collision between superexpress trains.

 1列車あたりの平均の遅れは、10秒にまで短縮された。正確さを追求してきた人たちの努力のたまものだろう。そして何よりも、この間、衝突のような事故が全く無かったことに安堵(あんど)させられる。

The extraordinary speed of the bullet train strikes home when you stand on a Shinkansen station platform and watch a Nozomi (Hope) superexpress pass by. The fastest of the Shinkansen trains, it seems to be flying rather than rolling.

As a high-ranking Chinese official put it, ``You feel as if you are being chased by someone whipping you from behind.'' But that description is less than accurate for passengers, who don't really get a sense of the bullet train's awesome speed.

 新幹線の駅のホームで、のぞみが通過するのを見る時、その爆走ぶりを実感する。走るというよりも飛んでゆく感じがある。「後ろからムチで打たれて追いかけられているようだ」と述べた中国の要人がいたが、本当の速さは、乗っていては分からない。

Over the past 40 years, the Shinkansen trains have become faster and the number of scheduled runs has increased. These high-speed trains have become something we cannot do without now.

Because they are also likely to encourage people to leave their villages for large cities-worsening the depopulation of the countryside and the overcrowding of urban areas-the railway companies must pay more attention to these problems.

The companies also must keep in mind the fact that they are operating Shinkansen trains at the expense of people living along the tracks. They owe it to these people to try to make bullet trains the safest in the world, instead of competing with other countries to operate the world's fastest.

 40年で速度は上がり、本数は増えた。現代には欠かせないものになったからこそ、「過速」や過密には、これまで以上に考慮が要る。周辺住民の被害も忘れてはなるまい。世界一の速度を競うより、世界一の安全を追い続けることである。

A common complaint is that it's almost pointless to look out the window of a bullet train to take in the view. Predictably, complaints of this nature have tailed off in recent years as the proportion of business travelers has increased.

But Shunzo Miyawaki objects to what seems to be the consensus among Shinkansen travelers. ``Looking out of the Shinkansen window is not so bad,'' he says.

Miyawaki rode all the lines operated by the Japanese National Railways before it was privatized and broken up into the present JR railway companies.

Why, Miyawaki asks, do people have to shuttle busily between the Kanto and Kansai districts, 500 kilometers apart?

As he sees it, the reason is that Tokugawa Ieyasu polarized Japan by establishing the Tokugawa Shogunate in Edo.

The areas along the Tokaido Shinkansen Superexpress Line, he says, are covered with the footprints of Ieyasu, the first Tokugawa shogun.

With easy access to nearby areas associated with Oda Nobunaga, who seized power ahead of Ieyasu, these places are a treasure house of historical sites. (These views are advanced in a collection of Miyawaki's railway travel essays, published by Kadokawa Shoten.)

 近年はビジネス客が増え、車窓を気にする人が減ったという。「新幹線の車窓も、まんざら捨てたものではない」と、国鉄全線の乗車を果たした宮脇俊三さんは書いた。現代人が、500キロ離れた関東と関西を忙しく往復させられるのは、徳川家康が江戸に幕府を開いて日本を二極に分解したからではないかという。「家康の体臭が満ちている」沿線は、織田信長などのゆかりの地も連なる「史跡の宝庫である」(『宮脇俊三鉄道紀行全集』角川書店)。

Four hundred years have passed since the polarization of Japan by Ieyasu, if what Miyawaki says is true. For travelers musing on the historical changes that presumably altered the landscape, the window of a Shinkansen superexpress is a perfect vantage point.

 二極分解から約400年。その変遷にも思いをはせれば、車窓は捨てがたいものになりそうだ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 4(IHT/Asahi: October 11,2004) (10/11)

It's the WMD's turn to comment on all the fuss


I am the WMD that supposedly existed. I haven't been found yet. Or rather, America's top arms inspector has just concluded that I never existed after all. This is his final word on the matter, based on months of investigation that involved 1,000 intelligence agents and cost nearly 100 billion yen.

10月08日付
■《天声人語》

 吾輩(わがはい)は「あるとされていた大量破壊兵器」である。まだ見つかっていない。というより、吾輩は居なかったとの結論が米国で出てしまった。情報部員千人と、千億円近い金や長い月日をかけた最終報告である。

I will never forget the people who fervently defended my existence. My chief spokesman was the president of the United States. One of his most memorable arguments was to the effect that Iraq had the capability to provide biological and chemical weapons to terrorist groups and individual terrorists, any time.

 吾輩は、かつて吾輩の存在を、あれほど熱っぽく語ってくれた人々のことを、決して忘れない。「イラクは生物・化学兵器をテロ組織やテロリスト個人にいつでも供与することができる」。「存在説」の代表格だった大統領の記念すべき発言だ。

The British prime minister was another powerful apologist. He insisted there was absolutely no doubt that weapons of mass destruction would be found. But I must say he became a bit of a wimp when he began asking people to wait for the final report from the American inspection team.

 英国の首相も力強く語ってくれた。「大量破壊兵器が見つかることについて、疑いはまったくない」。途中からは「米調査団の最終報告を待ってほしい」などと、吾輩から見れば弱腰な姿勢に変わった。

In any case, were it not for these two men, the world would not have paid me so much attention. But, seen from a different perspective, I was the one who legitimized their words and deeds, since my existence was the ultimate justification for their pre-emptive strike against Iraq. Not that I really care, but I do worry a bit for them now.

 しかし、このふたりが存在しなければ、吾輩の存在も、これほど世界からは注目されなかった。逆に見れば、吾輩の存在こそが先制攻撃の根拠になっていたのだから、両人の存在の方も揺らがないか。ひとごとながら心配だ。

I couldn't help bursting into laughter at hearing Japan's chief Cabinet secretary say, ``I should think it is excellent that something like that does not exist.'' By ``something like that,'' I suppose he meant me. As far as I know, the prime minister of Japan was always as much a believer in my existence as the American president. The chief Cabinet secretary has done a pretty good job of weaseling out of an embarrassing situation, but hey, what happens to me now?

 吾輩が思わず噴き出してしまったのは、日本の内閣官房長官の発言だ。「そういうものがないということは非常に結構ではないかと思う」。そういうものとは、吾輩のことらしい。確か、この国の首相は、大統領の「存在説仲間」だったはずだ。なかなか「結構」な、おとぼけぶりのようだが、吾輩の立場はどうなるのだ。

At the end of the day, it appears that I was just a fabrication. This being the case, let me graciously bow out of the center stage of history. And I would suggest the same to the people who insisted I existed.

 結局のところ、吾輩は、創作された存在だったのか。となれば、一時にせよ脚光を浴びた歴史の舞台からは、潔く降りるとしよう。「存在説」の人たちにも、一考を勧めたい。

-The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 8(IHT/Asahi: October 9,2004) (10/09)

Remembering the unbeaten track of old


After an interminable wet spell, the sky finally cleared on Wednesday morning and I could not resist an early morning walk in the dazzling sunshine. Everything seemed to sparkle, even the air itself, cleansed by the rains that had persisted until the night before.

A rainy spell in autumn is called ``shurin'' in Japanese, and this expression usually evokes an image of gentle drizzle. But the rains we had were anything but pelting.

Droplets of water glistened on the tips of leaves, and sunbeams danced as they filtered through foliage. A haiku about a temple in Nikko by Basho sprang to mind, even though the season in which he portrayed was early summer.

It goes like this: ``How awe-inspiring!/ On the green leaves, the young leaves/ The light of the sun.'' (Translation by Donald Keene, from ``The Narrow Road to Oku,'' Kodansha International,1996)

10月07日付
■《天声人語》

 昨日の早朝、久々の強い日差しに誘われて散歩に出た。秋霖(しゅうりん)というには荒々しい前夜までの風雨で、空も町も洗われている。木々の葉先に、しずくが光る。木漏れ日が、きらめく。季節は違うが〈あらたふと青葉若葉の日の光〉を連想した。

In 1878, or the 11th year of the Meiji Era (1868-1912), British traveler Isabella L. Bird set out on her journey to northern Japan by way of Nikko. Along the way, curious eyes peered at her from all directions.

 芭蕉がそう詠んだ日光を経て、英人旅行家イザベラ・バードが北へ向かったのは、1878年、明治11年だった。彼女は、行く先々で好奇の目にさらされる。

Her travelogue, ``Unbeaten Tracks in Japan,'' has been translated into Japanese and is available in the Toyo Bunko series under the title ``Nihon Okuchi Kiko.'' At one time, she writes, some 1,000 Japanese gathered outside the inn where she was staying and she had to be escorted out of town by four policemen. ``The noise made by 1,000 people shuffling along in clogs is like the clatter of a hail-storm,'' she observed.

 宿の外に千人もが集まったこともあったという。町はずれまで警官が付き添う。「一千の人びとが下駄をはいて歩いてくるときの騒音は、雹(ひょう)がばらばら降ってくる音に似ている」(『日本奥地紀行』東洋文庫)

She also described how she was pestered by fleas and mosquitoes and put off by local food-she was particularly turned off by misoshiru soup, which she called ``broth of abominable things.'' Nevertheless, Bird completed her three-month journey to Hokkaido via the Tohoku region.

 みそ汁が「ぞっとするほどいやなもののスープ」に見えたなど、食べ物の違いや、ノミや蚊にも悩まされた。それでも、東北を経て北海道まで約3カ月の旅を全うした。

At that time, school education was not mandatory and Bird was fascinated by parent-child relations and interaction within Japanese homes: ``I never saw people take so much delight in their offspring, carrying them about, or holding their hands in walking ... never content to be without them,'' she wrote.

In a Heibonsha book titled ``Izabera Baado-no `Nihon Okuchi Kiko'-wo Yomu'' (Reading Isabella Bird's ``Unbeaten Tracks in Japan''), Tsuneichi Miyamoto, an ethnologist, notes that some of Bird's insights into Japanese family relationships still apply to this day.

 「私は、これほど自分の子どもをかわいがる人々を見たことがない……抱いたり、背負ったり……手をとり……子どもがいないといつもつまらなそうである」。学校教育が進む以前の日本の家庭や親子関係を活写しており、今日でも考えさせられる所があると、民俗学者の宮本常一さんは述べている(『イザベラ・バードの「日本奥地紀行」を読む』平凡社)。

Bird also traveled to Korea and China, and died in Edinburgh on Oct. 7, exactly 100 years ago, aged 72. According to ``Eikoku-to Nihon'' (Britain and Japan) published by Hakubunkan Shinsha, Bird worried about the Russo-Japanese War even as she lay sick in bed. But she was intent on visiting Asia again. Her travel bags were packed, all she had to do was pick them up and go.

 彼女は朝鮮や中国へも旅した。そして、100年前の10月7日、英エディンバラで他界した。72歳で、病床でも日露の戦争の行方を気にしていたという。もう一度アジアに行くつもりで、旅行カバンは常に用意されていた(『英国と日本』博文館新社)。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 7 (IHT/Asahi: October 8,2004) (10/08)

The `real' story of Genghis Khan unfolding

For theatergoers, the 1994 stage drama ``Kiru'' was a unique offering.

Hideki Noda, who not only wrote the script but also directed its production, drew heavily on the life of Genghis Khan.

The play's young hero, Temujin (the Mongol conqueror's name as a child), is cast as a fashion designer who, surrounded by sheep, toils away on his sewing machine making clothes.

The drama revolves around his ambition to make people all over the world wear a uniform he has designed.

Given what Genghis Khan did to realize his ambition, the drama's Japanese title is fitting as the word ``kiru'' in this case is intended to have a double meaning--``to kill'' and ``to wear.''

10月06日付
■《天声人語》

 野田秀樹作・演出の「キル」(94年)はチンギス・ハーンをモデルにした異色の舞台だった。主人公の若者テムジンは羊の国でミシンを踏むデザイナーである。世界中の人に、彼がつくった制服を着せようと野望を抱く。題名の「キル」は「殺す」と「着る」との掛け言葉だ。

In contrast to the sheer dimensions of the empire he built, very little is known about the conqueror himself.

The wealth of mysteries has provoked the imagination of many people. Probably, this was what motivated Noda to turn Genghis Khan's ceaseless battles into a stage production depicting the cutthroat competition of the contemporary fashion world.

 あれだけ広大な帝国を築きながら、本人について知られていることは極めて少ない。謎の多さが、多くの人の想像力を刺激してきた。版図拡大の戦いを現代ファッション界の熾烈(しれつ)な競争に移し替えた野田さんもそのひとりだろう。

One of the greatest mysteries surrounding the famed conqueror has been the whereabouts of his grave.

On Monday, a joint team of researchers from Japan and Mongolia announced a major breakthrough. They have discovered the site of a mausoleum dedicated to Genghis Khan. Hopes are now growing that his grave will be found nearby.

 大きな謎のひとつが墓のありかだった。日本・モンゴル合同調査団がチンギス・ハーンの霊廟(れいびょう)跡を発見したと発表、その近くに墓がある可能性が高まっている。

When the late novelist Ryotaro Shiba traveled through Mongolia in the 1970s, he ``took care not to mention this man's name''--the ``man'' being Genghis Khan.

At that time, Mongolia was under the strong influence of the Soviet Union. Genghis Khan was perceived as an aggressor against Russia and treated as an ``evil beast.''

``The way the Soviet Union detests Genghis Khan is almost comical,'' Shiba wrote in ``Kaido-wo Yuku'' (Travels by the old highways), a series of travel essays published by The Asahi Shimbun.

 モンゴルを旅行中「この人物の名前を出さぬように気をつかっていた」と司馬遼太郎が記したのは、70年代のことだった。この人物とは、チンギス・ハーンである。ソ連の影響力が強烈な時代にはロシアへの侵略者として「害獣」扱いだった。「ソ連はジンギス汗をはなはだしく憎む。滑稽なほどに憎む」(『街道をゆく』朝日新聞社)

The fall of the Soviet Union was a blessing for Genghis Khan.

After Mongolia was freed from Soviet influence, he made his comeback as the country's ``founding hero.'' In 1992, he was officially reinstated when the president of Mongolia extolled him as ``the pride of all Mongols.''

Advances in research on the conqueror are now promoting the view that though he was an aggressor, the tolerance he showed to people of all religious faiths was a remarkable virtue for the ruler of a vast empire.

 ソ連崩壊で「建国の英雄」の座に返り咲き、92年には当時のモンゴル大統領が「彼は民族の誇りである」と述べて公式に復権した。研究も進んだ。侵略者ではあったが、宗教への寛容さは特筆すべきだといった再評価も進んでいる。

Generations of people have been charmed by the story of the ``blue wolf'' galloping across grassland. (One theory has it that Genghis Khan's desire to prove that he was his father's son--someone with the blood of the legendary blue wolf of Mongolia running in his body--drove him into waging the endless wars.)

The legend of the blue wolf has provided material for a number of novels and movies. But the stage is now shifting from legend to history.

 草原を疾駆する「蒼(あお)き狼(おおかみ)」の伝説は人々の心を強くとらえてきた。数々の小説や映画に描かれてきた。しかし、伝説から歴史へ、と舞台は移りつつある。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 6(IHT/Asahi: October 7,2004) (10/07)

Glasses can sharpen up wearer's worldview


A short-sighted acquaintance once told me how he felt when he first donned a pair of glasses.

``The world looked completely different,'' he recalled. ``But I was also a bit disappointed because I could see ugliness and sordidness more clearly.''

10月05日付
■《天声人語》

 「世界が変わって見えた」。近視の知人から初めてめがねをかけたときの体験を聞いたことがある。「汚いものもよく見えて、少々がっかりもしたけれど」とも。

Glasses are a great invention that can even change the wearer's worldview, but the inventor's identity remains a mystery.

It seems most likely that glasses were invented in 13th-century Italy, where glass-manufacturing techniques were highly advanced. Paintings from the 14th century on depict people with reading glasses, or what we today call glasses for the aged.

In the early days, how to hold them in place had to be worked out by trial and error. There were models that were held by hand. Others were designed to rest on the bridge of one's nose.

 世界像を変えるほどのめがねだが、発明者ははっきりしない。ガラス製造技術が発達した13世紀イタリアだという。14世紀からは絵画にもしばしば登場する。いまでいう老眼鏡、あるいは読書鏡である。当初からいかに着用するかが難題だった。手で支える。鼻にかける。試行錯誤が続いた。

In Japan, spectacles are believed to have been introduced by the Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier in the 16th century. Valued as rare foreign imports, they were affordable only to feudal lords and the top crust of society. Full-fledged production did not begin until the Meiji Period (1868-1912).

 日本には16世紀、宣教師ザビエルが伝えたとされる。舶来品として珍重されたが、大名など特権階級にしか手に入らないものだった。本格的なめがね製造が始まるのは明治に入ってからだ。

Today, Japan's bespectacled population is said to range between 50 million and 60 million-nearly half the population.

Fuji Optical Co., which has been sponsoring a campaign to donate glasses to refugees in various parts of Asia, was named a recipient of the newly instituted Asahi Corporate Citizen Award. This reminded me that many people around the world are still living without glasses, unable to correct their vision.

 いま日本のめがね人口は5千万とも6千万ともいわれる。国民の半数近くがめがねの世話になっている。アジアの難民らにめがねを贈る活動を続けてきた富士メガネが、第1回「朝日企業市民賞」に決まった。世界には、めがねがなくて不自由な思いをしている人が少なくないことを教えられる。

The Daichi-in temple in Chita, Aichi Prefecture, is also known as ``Megane Kobo'' (Kobo with glasses).

According to legend, a sight-impaired supplicant miraculously regained his sight when he prayed before a statue of the Buddhist priest Kobo Daishi (774-835).

When the statue's left eye was found to be damaged right after this episode, someone put a pair of glasses on it.

The temple holds an annual ceremony at the end of October, when people bring their old glasses they no longer need. These glasses are given to needy people in Sri Lanka.

 愛知県知多市の大智院は「めがね弘法」として知られる。目の不自由な人が弘法大師像に祈願したところ、目が見えるようになった。代わりに像の左目が傷ついたため、めがねがかけられたという。毎年10月末に「めがね供養」が営まれ、集まっためがねはスリランカの恵まれない人たちに贈られる。

A poem by Shuji Miya reads: ``Gazed through new lenses in my glasses/ The stars are blue in the spring sky.''

I wonder how the clear skies of autumn will look. Sometimes, you need glasses to make the present state of the world visible.

 〈あたらしく玉取換へし眼鏡にて仰げば空の春の星青し〉宮柊二。秋の高い空ならどうだろうか。めがねを通して世界のいまが見えてくることもある。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 5(IHT/Asahi: October 6,2004) (10/06)

Will Bush's resolve or Kerry's judgment win?

One way to look at the first debate between George W. Bush and John Kerry is that they made the U.S. presidential election in November a matter of choosing between Bush's ``steadfast resolve'' and Kerry's ``judgment.'' As I watched the debate on TV, both appeared to be saying this was their game plan.

10月02日付
■《天声人語》

 「一貫のブッシュ」対「判断のケリー」の闘いか。米大統領選のテレビ討論を見て、両者が、そう自称しているように思われた。

President Bush repeatedly charged that Senator Kerry lacked consistency. To drive this point home, Bush said about Kerry: ``He voted to authorize the use of force (against Iraq) and now says it's the wrong war at the wrong time at the wrong place.''

Alluding to his record in this respect, Bush emphasized, ``The best way to defeat them (the enemy) is to never waver.'' He also said, ``The way to win this is to be steadfast and resolved.''

 大統領は、ケリー候補の「一貫性のなさ」を繰り返した。イラクへの武力行使に賛成しておきながら、後になって「間違った戦争」と批判するのは一貫性がない、と。揺るがない一貫性は自分の方にあると言いたいらしい。

Kerry countered Bush's charge by saying, ``This president has made, I regret to say, a colossal error of judgment.''

While questioning the president's judgment, the senator made two historical references and said in one, ``The terrorism czar, who has worked for every president since Ronald Reagan, said, `Invading Iraq in response to 9/11 would be like Franklin Roosevelt invading Mexico in response to Pearl Harbor.'''

In the other, Kerry recalled how President John F. Kennedy sent his secretary of state to talk with President Charles de Gaulle of France during the Cuban missile crisis and show him photos of missile batteries in Cuba. Kerry said, ``De Gaulle waved them off and said, `No, no, no, no. The word of the president of the United States is good enough for me.'''

This quote was obviously to unfavorably compare the current U.S. president, who has been criticized by the French, with Kennedy, who had De Gaulle's trust.

 ケリー候補は、大統領の「判断力」を問題にしながら「歴史」を引き合いに出した。9・11の同時多発テロをもってイラクを攻撃するのは「真珠湾攻撃を受けて、ルーズベルト大統領がメキシコに侵攻するようなものだ」。キューバ危機で、ドゴール仏大統領は、ケネディ大統領が届けさせたミサイル配備の写真を見もせずに述べた。「米大統領がそう言っているなら十分だ」。名だたる大統領を持ち出して、隣に立っている現職と比較させる狙いと見えた。

Speaking of tactics, Bush was too eager to attack Kerry's ``lack of consistency'' for his own good. Too often, he repeated his Democratic opponent's claim that the president had led America into a wrong war. Repeating the word ``wrong'' seemed to be counterproductive as it sounded as if the label applied to Bush.

At any rate, Kerry, as a challenger not directly responsible for the savage reality of war, had an advantage in the first of three presidential debates.

 現大統領は、相手の「一貫性のなさ」を強調するあまり、相手方が言う「間違った戦争」を、大きく何度も繰り返した。「間違った」という言葉が大統領自身に降りかかってくるようで、逆効果と思われた。初回の討論は、戦争という凄惨(せいさん)な現実に直接の責任を持たない方に分があったようだ。

Kerry is more than 10 centimeters taller than Bush. One could tell the difference when they stood together. But the difference vanished when they were shown separately in side-by-side footage, with the positions of their heads adjusted to be equal.

 身長は、ケリー候補が10センチ以上高い。並べば、はっきりと分かるが、両者を個々に映して横に並べた画面では、頭の高さは同じに調整されていた。

The question is how Americans who tuned in to the presidential debate marked Bush's steadfast resolve and Kerry's judgment. This is of crucial importance for the whole world whose fortunes are to be greatly affected by what opinions the voters of a single country form of their presidential candidates.

 視聴者は、「ブッシュの一貫性」と「ケリーの判断力」については、どう点を付けたのか。一国の有権者の判断が、世界に大きく響く。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 2(IHT/Asahi: October 5,2004) (10/05)

Hearn's proclivity to wander written in Greek


A dot in the Ionian Sea, the Greek island of Lefkada is about 400 kilometers west of Athens, the site of the 2004 Paralympics.

Lafcadio Hearn, an author best known for his books about Japan, including ``Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan'' and ``Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things,'' was born on this island in 1850.

09月25日付
■《天声人語》

 パラリンピックが開かれているアテネから西の方に約400キロ、レフカダはイオニア海に浮かぶ小さな島である。「怪談」や「知られぬ日本の面影」を著したラフカディオ・ハーン(小泉八雲)は、1850年に、この島で生まれた。

The place where he was born was called Leucadia, a name which he adopted for himself. This place name is said to mean ``to wander,'' according to an encyclopedia on Koizumi Yakumo (the name Hearn took as a naturalized Japanese), published by Kobunsha.

Hearn arrived in Japan in 1890, but his life before that was migratory for a long time. He first moved from Greece, the homeland of his mother, to Ireland, the homeland of his father. Then, he lived in Britain, the United States and the French West Indies.

 出生地はリュカディアと呼ばれていた。それは「放浪」を意味すると言われている(『小泉八雲事典』恒文社)。母の国ギリシャから、父の出身地アイルランド、さらに英、米、仏領西インド諸島などを経て、1890年には日本へ。ハーンの人生の旅も長かった。

In Japan, Hearn was appointed a lecturer of English literature at the Tokyo Imperial University (the forerunner to the University of Tokyo) after teaching in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, and in Kumamoto, the capital of Kumamoto Prefecture.

After Hearn's departure, he was succeeded by Natsume Soseki, who was to become one of modern Japan's greatest novelists.

Giving a humble account of himself in comparison to Hearn, Natsume told his wife: ``My predecessor is an authority on English literature. Moreover, his literary reputation resounds around the world. On the other hand, I am inexperienced, still not much more than a student. You just can't expect me to perform like him as his successor.''

 松江、熊本で教えた後に東大の英文学の講師となる。「小泉先生は英文学の泰斗でもあり、また文豪として世界に響いたえらい方であるのに、自分のやうな駆け出しの書生上りのものが、その後釜に据わつたところで、到底立派な講義ができるわけのものでもない」。ハーンの後任の講師となった夏目漱石が、妻にもらしたという。

Hearn had a heart attack and died on Sept. 26, 1904. A monument marking the spot where he died stands in front of Okubo Elementary School in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward. Two days before the centennial of his death, I went to see the Yakumo Memorial Park, which sits cater-corner from the monument.

 ハーンは100年前の9月26日、狭心症で他界した。新宿区立大久保小学校の前に「終焉(しゅうえん)の地」の碑がある。昨日、その筋向かいの八雲記念公園へ行ってみた。

The park has a bust of Hearn because Shinjuku Ward has city ties with Lefkada. It was a gift from the Greek government. As I saw the bust facing the west, I recalled a list of things Hearn loved, a list cited by his Japanese wife, Setsuko, in her memoirs.

The list was headed by the western direction. Also on the list were: ``sunset glow at dusk,'' ``summer,'' ``the sea,'' ``recreational swimming'' and ``solitary graveyards.''

 新宿区とレフカダは友好都市になっており、ギリシャ政府から贈られたハーンの胸像がある。像は西の方を向いていた。妻節子が「思ひ出の記」であげていた、ハーンの好きだった物を思い浮かべた。夕焼け、夏、海、遊泳、淋しい墓地などの最初に「西」とあった。

During my visit, a butterfly was dancing around the tips of luxuriant olive leaves near the bust. It was a species called shijimi cho, or lycaenid, to be exact. Cicadas, ants and butterflies were also Hearn's ``best friends,'' according to his wife's memoirs.

 像の近くに茂るオリーブの葉先にシジミチョウが舞っている。セミやアリやチョウもまた「パパの一番のお友達」だったという。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 25(IHT/Asahi: October 4,2004) (10/04)

Recent springs of hope in quotable quotes


Here are some notable September quotes:

``Many baseball fans raised their voices in support of our cause. I pray that their support will bear fruit in the near future and make professional baseball a truly fan-oriented sport,'' said Atsuya Furuta, head of the Professional Baseball Players' Association. If there is such a thing as an ``Outside-the-Park MVP Award,'' it should definitely go to Furuta. Fans were enthralled by his hit as a pinch hitter when marathon negotiations with management prevented him from playing a full game.

10月01日付
■《天声人語》

 最近の言葉から。「たくさんのファンの方がプロ野球のため、声を上げてくれた。近い将来、その成果が出て、愛されるプロ野球になることを祈りたい」。もし「場外MVP」があるなら、古田敦也・選手会長で決まりだろう。長い労使交渉の後の、かけつけ代打のヒットも光る。

Jun Hiromichi won the bronze medal in the men's 800-meter wheelchair race at the Athens Paralympics. He became paralyzed from the waist down as a result of a motorbike accident at age 15. ``I almost died once,'' he said. ``I would be doing injustice to life itself if I don't live out my life with joy.''

 アテネ・パラリンピックの車いす男子800メートルで銅メダルの広道純選手は、15歳の時のバイク事故で下半身不随となった。「一度死にかけた。たっぷり喜んで生きなくては命に失礼や」

Three years have passed since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Tasuku Nakamura lost his son, Takuya, who worked at a bank in the World Trade Center building. Nakamura said: ``Just as my son had me as his father, every 9/11 victim had his or her family and loved ones. We human beings must try to use this kind of imagination.''

 9・11同時多発テロから3年たつ。「せがれに私がいたように、亡くなった人の後ろには家族や恋人がいる。それを想像する作業を人間はやらなければならない」。世界貿易センタービル内の銀行勤めだった息子、匠也(たくや)さんを失った中村佑(たすく)さん。

Costa Rica's highest court has ruled that the government's support of the U.S. war in Iraq was in violation of the Constitution and ordered the government to withdraw the support. A university student, who instituted this litigation against the Costa Rican government, was quoted as saying, ``The government may lose its credibility now, but the people of Costa Rica will regain the trust of the world.''

 イラク戦争で米国支持を表明した中米コスタリカ政府に対し、最高裁が違憲だとして支持の取り消しを命じた。提訴した大学生は「今の政府は信用を失うかもしれないが、コスタリカの人々は世界の信用を取り戻すことになる」

Yoshiharu Habu, a shogi champion, wrote to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to appeal for leniency for former chess world champion Bobby Fischer when the latter was detained by Japanese immigration authorities. Habu wrote: ``He is a Mozart of the chess world. The chess moves he has made will remain in all their timeless brilliance 100 years from now.''

 「チェス界のモーツァルトのような存在で、残した棋譜は100年後も色あせることなく存在する」。不法入国の疑いで拘束された元世界王者ボビー・フィッシャーさんを救おうと、将棋棋士の羽生善治さんが小泉首相に送った嘆願のメールから。

At 84, Kimani Nganga Maruge of Kenya is acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's oldest elementary school first-grader. ``I am happy to be able to study with youngsters who are like my family,'' he said. His dream is to go all the way to university and become a veterinarian.

 ケニアのキマニ・ンガンガ・マルゲさんは84歳。ギネスも認定した世界最高齢入学の小学1年生だ。「家族のような子どもたちと勉強できて、とても幸せだ」。大学を卒業し獣医師になるのが夢という。

-The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 1(IHT/Asahi: October 2,2004) (10/02)

Low-key Closing Ceremony hit the right note


Watching the Athens Paralympics Closing Ceremony live on TV before dawn Wednesday, I heard a recurring melody that sounded vaguely familiar. Low and somber, it gradually built up to a crescendo.

09月30日付
■《天声人語》

 昨日の未明、アテネでのパラリンピックの閉会式を伝えるテレビから、どこか聞き覚えのあるメロディーが流れた。低く、地をはうような旋律が、繰り返されながら高まってゆく。

I realized it was ``Adagio for Strings'' by the American composer Samuel Barber. The melody was also used as background music in the movie ``Platoon,'' an Oliver Stone classic about the Vietnam War.

 米国のサミュエル・バーバー作曲の「弦楽のためのアダージョ」かと思われた。それは、ベトナム戦争を描いたオリバー・ストーンの映画「プラトーン」にも使われた、哀切きわまりない曲である。

The program of the Closing Ceremony was substantially altered from the original to mourn for the loss of seven high school students who died in a traffic accident on their way to watch the Games. The music fit the occasion.

 閉会式の内容は、パラリンピックの観戦に行く途中に交通事故で死亡した7人の高校生を悼み、大幅に変更された。曲には、哀悼の思いに寄り添うような響きがあった。

Here's what happened: The athletes entered the stadium; Paralympic officials made their speeches; Beijing was introduced as the next host; and then the Flame went out.

The low-key ceremony lasted about one hour. There were no high-tech gimmicks. Some athletes and spectators probably wanted something flashier. But I personally welcomed the simplicity. The atmosphere felt refreshing, with a breath of ancient times.

 式は、選手入場から役員あいさつ、次の開催地・北京の紹介へと淡々と進み、聖火が消えるまで約1時間で終わった。大がかりな機械仕掛けの出し物は無かった。演出を期待する選手や観客もいただろう。しかし、この簡素な運びには、すがすがしさや、古(いにしえ)の息吹が感じられた。

Two big sporting events, running consecutively in Athens from Aug. 13, are now over. During the Games, there were the usual laments about problems caused by the overgrown Games and doping.

However, the efforts of many dedicated volunteers who supported the events and athletes aiming for their finest performances-with or without disabilities-were a source of inspiration and encouragement to those who followed the Games coverage. The installation of elevators on the Acropolis was a welcome new gift for people in wheelchairs.

 8月13日に始まったアテネでの二つの大きな競技会が終わった。大会の肥大や薬物による問題が指摘された。しかし、障害のあるなしにかかわらず、持てる力を尽くそうとする選手たちや大会を支える多くのボランティアの姿は、見る者にも勇気を与えた。アクロポリスの丘に設けられたエレベーターは、車いすの人々に新しい視座をもたらした。

Next February, Nagano will host the 2005 Special Olympics World Winter Games for the mentally disabled. I hope Japan will inherit the spirit of challenge that was displayed in all forms, under the symbol of olive branches, this summer in Athens.

 来年2月、知的発達障害者のスポーツの祭典・スペシャルオリンピックス冬季世界大会が長野で開かれる。オリーブの枝の下、アテネの夏で見てきた様々な可能性の追求というバトンを、日本でも引き継いでゆきたい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 30(IHT/Asahi: October 1,2004) (10/01)

Artist rewriting baseball history with his bat


As Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners closes in on George Sisler's single-season hit record, the names of some of baseball's forgotten but great major league players spring to mind. With his every hit, the dusty pages of major league baseball history are being turned.

09月29日付
■《天声人語》

 忘れられた名選手が次々とよみがえっている。マリナーズのイチローがヒットを打ち、最多安打記録に近づくたびに、ほこりをかぶっていた大リーグ史のページが読み返されている。

Sisler set his record of 257 hits in 1920. But there were a few stories to be told about Sisler. The U.S. media dubbed him a ``legendary player without a legend.''

Perhaps this is because he was dwarfed by contemporary players like ``baseball saint'' Ty Cobb and home run king Babe Ruth.

Another possible reason could be that when Sisler set the record, it was inconceivable that it would stand more than 80 years.

 1920年に257本の史上最多安打を記録したジョージ・シスラーを「伝説なき伝説のプレーヤー」と米メディアは称する。特筆すべき逸話が残っていない。同時代に球聖といわれるタイ・カッブや本塁打王のベーブ・ルースがいたからかもしれない。当時、記録が80年以上も破られない、とはとても考えられなかったこともあろう。

Commenting on Ichiro's run, Sisler's son, Dave Sisler, said: ``He (father George) was a very humble man ... We're very happy he is getting some attention. This record has sat in the background a long time. It's a crime.

``He would have been the first in line to congratulate Ichiro,'' the junior Sisler added.

 「父は謙虚な人だった。それにしてもあの記録は長く置き去りにされすぎた。いまようやく注目を浴びてうれしい」と子どもの一人が米紙に語っている。「父が生きていたら、イチローを応援しただろう」とも。

Of the 10 all-time single-season hit record holders, most have been inducted into American baseball's Hall of Fame. But second-place Lefty O'Doul is a notable exception.

O'Doul first came to Japan in 1931 as a member of a major league all-star team.

He soon became a frequent visitor and a popular coach to Japanese student baseball players. He was eventually inducted into the Japanese Hall of Fame for his coaching efforts and his part in establishing the nation's professional baseball league.

 最多安打の歴代10位までの選手はほとんど野球の殿堂入りをしているが、2位のレフティ・オドゥールは例外だ。彼は大リーグ時代の31年に選抜選手として来日、以来たびたび日本を訪れた。学生野球の指導をし、日本のプロ野球創設にも協力した。その貢献によって、日本の野球殿堂入りを果たした。

Just the other day, Ichiro surpassed the fifth-place record of 250 hits set in 1922 by Rogers Hornsby who is said to be the best right-handed batter in major league history. During his career, he took the title of leading hitter seven times, averaged better than 0.400 three times, and won a triple batting crown twice.

 史上最強の右打者といわれるのがロジャーズ・ホーンスビーだ。首位打者を7度、打率4割を3度記録し、三冠王も2度獲得した。歴代5位だった22年の彼の記録250安打を、先日イチローは抜いた。

Ichiro is an artist with a bat. Watching him rewrite history by overtaking and then surpassing some of the greatest batters in major league baseball history is just thrilling.

 過去の大打者たちに並び、そして超えていく。芸術的ともいえるイチローのバッティングが、歴史を塗り替えていくのを目の当たりにする楽しさは格別だ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 29(IHT/Asahi: September 30,2004) (09/30)

New Koizumi Cabinet falls flat as `final jump'


The ``sandantobi,'' or triple jump, used to be called ho-su-janpu in Japanese-a corruption of the English ``hop, step and jump.'' Mikio Oda, a triple-jump gold medalist at the Amsterdam Olympics in 1928, is credited with giving this sport the Japanese name of sandantobi.

09月28日付
■《天声人語》

 三段跳びのことを昔はホ・ス・ジャンプといっていたそうだ。ホップ・ステップ・ジャンプの略である。いまの名前に変えたのは、アムステルダム五輪の金メダリスト織田幹雄だといわれる。

In the triple jump, the first hop is the most crucial part. The hop must not be too high. The higher the leap, the less forward propulsion you get, and this takes away the speed and momentum you need.

I thought about this rule as I reflected on the administration of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Did he take too high a leap at the start of his administration?

 三段跳びで重要なのは最初のホップである。高く跳びすぎないことだ。高く跳べば跳ぶほど前へ進む力が減じ、失速してしまうからだ。小泉政権を振り返って、この三段跳びの鉄則を思う。発足時のホップが舞い上がりすぎではなかったか。

I can appreciate his effort to defy the ``gravity'' that was his Liberal Democratic Party. But if the reshuffle of his Cabinet last year was the ``step,'' there is no denying that his promised reforms have since lost steam. And, as if pulled by that gravity, the leap has proven short, too. His just-formed Cabinet may be said to represent his final jump.

 自民党という重力から少しでも離れようとした跳躍意欲は理解できる。しかし、去年の内閣改造、第2次小泉政権発足をステップとすれば、「改革」の減速は否めない。重力に引き戻されたのか、跳びも小さくなった。今度の内閣改造は、着地につながるジャンプといえるだろう。

An old tanka poem says:

``The arrival of autumn is not visible to the eye, but you realize it with shock from the sound of the winds.''

You hear the winds and suddenly know autumn is here. This is a common sensation when seasons change.

Koizumi has always had a way with surprising the nation by introducing some ``fresh air'' into his Cabinet lineup and the selection of party executives. But this time, there was little surprise in the new lineup unveiled in autumn rain. This was despite the fact that the party's biggest faction was reeling from a scandal over a 100-million-yen donation, which meant the stage was set perfectly for Koizumi to impress the nation with a daring, reformist Cabinet reshuffle.

 〈秋来ぬと目にはさやかに見えねども風の音にぞおどろかれぬる〉。風にはっとさせられ、秋の到来を知る。季節の変わり目の感覚だ。人事の変わり目に新風を呼び込んで驚かせるのは小泉首相の手法だった。しかし秋雨のさなかの改造に、驚きは小さかった。1億円献金問題で自民党最大派閥があえいでいるときである。変化を実感させる人事には格好の舞台だったが。

The new lineup is said to pave the way for the privatization of postal services. But while postal privatization may be Koizumi's dearest dream, surely it is only one of many pending issues. There are still problems galore that Koizumi must tackle. He should be focusing on making his final, powerful jump.

 郵政民営化へ向けての布陣といわれる。首相の宿願とはいえ、民営化は多くの政策目標の一つでしかないだろう。課題は山積している。最後のジャンプに向けて力強い蹴(け)りが求められるときだ。

Like the weather, the political situation is oppressive. A haiku by Gyotai Kato says: ``Autumn rain/ Falls on my listless face.''

 空模様と同じで、からりとした気分にさせてはくれない政界模様である。〈秋の雨ものうき顔にかかるなり〉(暁台)

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 28(IHT/Asahi: September 29,2004) (09/29)

Impetuous Francoise Sagan epitomized youth


In the 1950s, France set global trends in a number of fields, from literature, the arts and thought to movies and fashion.

Perhaps, one of the reasons the world enthused so wildly about a novel written by an 18-year-old female French student in the middle of that decade was that people were charmed by French products as a whole.

09月27日付
■《天声人語》

 フランスからいろいろ新しいものが流れ出てくる時代があった。文学、美術、思想から映画、ファッションまで。1950年代がそんな時代だった。50年代半ば、18歳の女子学生が書いた小説があれほど熱狂的に迎えられたのも、一つには強烈なフランスの香りに魅せられたからかもしれない。

Francoise Sagan's first novel, ``Bonjour Tristesse,'' was published in France in 1954.

The next year, it became a worldwide best seller as translations in English, Japanese and other languages came out.

The novel's heroine is a 17-year-old girl, and the author uses a cool touch to paint her in the dappled light of youth-the explosion of youth and then psychological swings to indolence and cruelty.

 フランソワーズ・サガンの『悲しみよ こんにちは』は54年にフランスで出版され、翌年には英訳、邦訳などが出て世界的ベストセラーになった。17歳の女の子が主人公で、青春の輝き、倦怠(けんたい)、残酷さなど揺れ動く心理が覚めた文体で描かれる。

The title comes from a poem by Paul Eluard, which begins ``Adieu tristesse/ Bonjour Tristesse.'' It dogged Sagan's life to the end. As newspapers in France and elsewhere reported her death last week, they ran headlines featuring ``Bonjour'' and ``Tristesse.''

 題名はP・エリュアールの詩からだ。冒頭にその詩を掲げる。「悲しみよ さようなら/悲しみよ こんにちは……」。この題名が生涯彼女につきまとった。先週の彼女の死に際しても、フランスをはじめ世界中の新聞の見出しに「こんにちは」と「悲しみ」があふれた。

A prolific writer who produced many novels and dramas, Sagan also lived freely and self-destructively-indulging in drink, narcotics and gambling.

She got into traffic accidents and her broken marriages left her traumatized. As a French paper put it, ``She sped through her life.''

Another mourned her death, saying, ``Her life stood for something greater than Sagan-as a writer, as a woman and as someone who represented the age in which she lived.''

 たくさんの小説や戯曲を書いたが、酒、麻薬、賭博、交通事故、結婚と離婚の繰り返しなど生涯は奔放といえば奔放、破滅的だった。仏紙は「彼女は人生を疾走した」「彼女はサガン以上の存在だった。作家、女、時代そのもの」と悼んだ。

A passage of Paul Eluard's poem, translated into Japanese by poet Makoto Ooka, comes to mind: ``Aging is a process for you to organize your youth as you go through the years.''

Sagan staked her youth on Eluard's words, but she probably did not take the trouble of ``organizing her youth'' over the years.

 詩人の大岡信さんが紹介するエリュアールの詩の一節を思い浮かべる。「年をとる それはおのれの青春を 歳月の中で組織することだ」。サガンはエリュアールの言葉に青春を託しながら「歳月の中で組織する」ことをついにしなかったのではないか。

Even so, Sagan will continue to live as the mirror of a certain age and youth for many people.

 多くの人にとって、時代の鏡像、青春の鏡像として生き続けるのだろう。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 27(IHT/Asahi: September 28,2004) (09/28)

The good and the bad of the open U.S. system


Americans often say that ``anyone can grow up to be president'' of their country. They are alluding to their country's openness.

Over 50 years ago, Adlai Stevenson, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, warned however that the openness of the American system involved risks. In 1952, he said, ``In America, any boy may become president, and I suppose that's just the risk he takes.''

09月21日付
■《天声人語》

 アメリカという国では、誰でもが大統領になることができる。開かれた国アメリカについてよくいわれるせりふだが、元米国連大使A・スチブンソンはこう付け加えた。その危険が誰にもつきまとう、と。

Stevenson was the Democratic presidential candidate in 1956. The same year, a young Bill Clinton was able to watch television in his home for the first time.

At 10, young Clinton was enraptured by movies and baseball games involving the New York Yankees. But for him, nothing seemed more exciting than the Republican and Democratic party conventions.

Despite the Democratic Party's endorsement, Stevenson was less than enthusiastic about running for the White House-a fact the young Clinton was unable to comprehend.

 スチブンソンが民主党から大統領候補に推された1956年、クリントン前大統領の家にテレビがやってきた。劇映画やヤンキースの試合以上に10歳のクリントン少年を夢中にさせたのは共和党と民主党の党大会だった。立候補を要請されたスチブンソンが気乗り薄だったのを見て、なぜ大統領になりたがらないのか、少年には不可解だった。

Clinton's father died when he was just a small child. After his mother's remarriage, he grew up under an abusive stepfather who was an alcoholic and often resorted to domestic violence.

In his autobiography ``My Life,'' Clinton details how, despite his background, he managed to ascend to America's highest post. (A Japanese translation has been published by The Asahi Shimbun.)

The book also makes much about America's grass-roots democracy.

 父を早くに亡くし、アルコール依存と家庭内暴力の義父に悩まされて育った少年が、いかに最高権力者に上りつめたか。クリントン氏の自伝『マイライフ』(朝日新聞社)に、克明に描かれる。あの国の「草の根民主主義」についても考えさせられることが多い。

At schools, students are encouraged to take an interest in politics through specially organized classes and extracurricular activities.

Students make policies, give speeches and conduct election campaigns. They have many chances to be involved in such ``mock politics.''

Those who become friends in these activities later work together when they enter the political world for real.

 学校では政治への関心を育てる授業や課外活動がたくさんある。生徒は政策をつくり、演説をし、選挙運動をする。模擬政治を何度も経験する。そこで親しくなった友人たちが後に実際の政治活動の仲間になる。

This is a splendid way to raise the next generation of politicians. Even so, it is not without some problems. In his book, Clinton says it was not until the second half of his college years that he read the philosophical works of Kant, Kierkegaard, Hegel and Nietzsche for the first time.

Both in practice and spirit, the American school system is primarily devoted to giving students practical skills. Perhaps this approach stems from an unwavering belief that religious faith, not philosophy, is what props up individuals from within as they get along.

 見事な政治家養成の仕組みとはいえ、気がかりなところもある。クリントン氏は大学の後期で「初めてカントやキルケゴール、ヘーゲル、ニーチェを読んだ」という。実学優先の教育と志向が徹底している。内面を支えるのは、哲学ではなく宗教だと割り切っているのか。

The race for the White House is entering the homestretch. While watching the contest, we should keep in mind the dangers inherent in the U.S. political system as well as the superpower's vast potential.

 佳境に入った米大統領選だが、アメリカ政治の底力と危うさとをともに見ていかねばなるまい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 21(IHT/Asahi: September 27,2004) (09/27)

Japanese homes have lost their tatami spirit


It was still early for lunchtime, but a notice posted outside a restaurant caught my attention. It said: ``Fresh handmade soba (buckwheat noodles).''

I parted the noren curtain hung over the threshold, saw the place was not yet busy, and took a table in a section where the raised floor formed a platform.

09月24日付
■《天声人語》

 新そば打ち始めました――。まだ昼までは少しあったが、張り紙につられて、のれんをくぐった。すいていた小上がりに座る。

The buckwheat came from Hokkaido, I was told. Savoring the noodle's delicate fragrance, I was somewhat reminded of newly laid tatami mats that were still fresh and green.

Soba and tatami go together well, not just because of their olfactory appeal. It's the sort of harmony you wouldn't be conscious of if you were lounging in an overstuffed sofa. The restaurant's tatami were not new. But a light press with my palms brought back nostalgic sensations from the days when tatami was the standard flooring material everywhere.

 北海道産の粉で打ったという。どこか青畳のかぐわしさにも通じるような、かすかな香りを味わう。香りだけではなく、そばは、畳との相性がいい。ソファに身を沈めていては、たぐりにくい。小上がりの畳は、そう新しくはなかった。しかし、手のひらで軽く押すと、どこにでも畳敷きがあった頃の懐かしい感じがよみがえった。

The German architect Walter Gropius studied Japanese architecture first-hand 50 years ago. Praising the aesthetic simplicity of the tatami-based lifestyle, he observed to the effect that the Japanese needed neither chairs nor beds because of the ergonomic harmony created by tatami.

 50年前、日本の建築を視察したドイツ出身の建築家グロピウスが、感想を残している。「タタミというものが尺度になって人体的な関係を保ちながらよく調和したものを生み出している……日本人はタタミの上に座ることからイスも、ベッドも必要ではなく」と、畳の生活の簡素な美しさをたたえた。

Gropius was the first principal of the Bauhaus School, Germany's most avant-garde art and design school that was founded during the pre-war period to seek the integration of art and technology. Noting he had heard many Japanese argue in favor of doing away with tatami altogether, Gropius warned of the danger of ``forgetting tradition and rushing to switch to something new.''

 グロピウスは、芸術と技術の統合を目指した造形学校バウハウスの初代校長を務めた。日本では多くの人から「タタミ廃止論」を聞いたという。「私は伝統とのつながりを忘れて、いきなり新しいものに飛び付いてゆくことは危険だと思う」と述べている。

In an old Japanese tragicomic movie about the emergence of modern ferroconcrete apartment complexes, the protagonist-played by Daisuke Kato, if my memory is correct-grumbles in exasperation: ``The word katei (family) is written with the Chinese characters for home and garden.''

As more single-family homes were replaced with apartment blocks without individual gardens, tatami also disappeared from many Japanese homes.

 鉄筋の団地という新しいものに出会った日本人の悲喜劇を描いた古い映画で、確か加東大介だったと思うが、やけぎみに言うシーンがあった。「大体、家庭ってのは、家に庭と書くんだ」。家庭から庭が失われてゆくにつれ、多くの家から畳も消えていった。

Woven with straw or rush, tatami effectively represented a bit of nature in the house. Perhaps they provided each old Japanese home with an additional garden.

 ワラやイグサで出来た畳は、いわば小さな自然でもあった。それは、家庭の中の、もう一つの庭だったのかもしれない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 24(IHT/Asahi: September 25,2004) (09/25)

Connecting the dots of a wartime picture


Several major developments seem to have occurred in quick succession. I cannot see clearly how they connect, but it bothers me that they seem to be deeply interrelated.

09月23日付
■《天声人語》

 幾つか、大きなものごとが続いて起きているように見える。像は、くっきりとは結ばないが、互いに関係が深そうで気に掛かる。

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said during a recent BBC interview that he considered the invasion of Iraq ``illegal.'' Although he rephrased his opinion in his speech before the U.N. General Assembly-``The rule of law is at risk around the world''-he effectively pointed his finger at the United States as being responsible for jeopardizing the rule of law.

 イラク戦争は違法だと、アナン国連事務総長が英メディアに語った。総会の演説では「違法」は「法の支配の危機」に変わっていたが、危機をもたらした国の一つを米と名指ししたようなものだ。

U.S. President George W. Bush, in his turn at the General Assembly podium, said that the proper response to spreading violence ``is not to retreat, it is to prevail.''

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi assured Bush that he respected the U.S. government for its firm commitment to Iraq's reconstruction while maintaining international cooperation.

In his General Assembly speech, Koizumi said Japan was seeking a permanent seat on the Security Council.

 米大統領は「撤退せず勝利あるのみだ」と演説した。その大統領に、小泉首相は「米国が国際協調を維持しつつイラク再建に強い決意で取り組んでいることに敬意を表する」と述べた。総会では安保理の常任理事国入りを訴えた。

A vast area that stretches from the Korean Peninsula to Africa is described as an ``arc of instability.'' Washington wants to relocate some U.S. military command centers from the U.S. mainland to Japan, so that U.S. forces could be more effectively deployed in conflict- and terror-infested parts of the world. This plan goes way beyond the framework of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

 「不安定の弧」という言葉がある。朝鮮半島からアフリカに至る広大な地域を指す。テロや紛争の多発地帯で米軍を十全に展開させるため、米本土の一部の軍司令部を日本に移す構想を、米国が日本側に示しているという。安保条約の枠を大きくはみ出す構想だ。

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) was U.S. president when the treaty was signed in 1960. When he left office the following year, he said: ``We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.'' (A Japanese translation of this speech can be found in ``Kaikoroku,'' an Eisenhower memoir, published by Misuzu Shobo.)

 「60年安保」当時の大統領だったアイゼンハワーが退任演説で述べた。「われわれは、軍・産業複合体が(略)不当な影響力を手に入れることがないよう厳戒しなければならない。権力があやまった場所に置かれ、恐るべき形で高まってゆく潜在的な危険性は現にあるし、今後とも根強く存在し続けることであろう」(『回顧録』みすず書房)

Koizumi's private advisory panel reportedly intends to call for an ``easing'' of the nation's three basic principles that effectively ban arms exports. This would facilitate joint military research with the United States. Wouldn't the world see this as the rise of an ominous, Japan-U.S. military-industry complex?

There are signs of drastic changes. But, as usual, Koizumi provides no satisfactory explanation.

 小泉首相の私的諮問機関が、米との軍事共同研究に絡んで「武器輸出3原則」の緩和を求める方針という。世界にとって、日米が不気味な複合体にならないか。幾つもの激変が兆しているのに、相変わらず、首相から満足な説明はない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 23(IHT/Asahi: September 24,2004) (09/24)


Is Ptolemy's view of the heavens resurgent?


Enunciating his theory of geocentricism in the second century, the Greek geographer, astronomer and astrologer Ptolemy wrote: ``The things we see around the Earth ... become plausibly explainable only when we assume that the Earth is located in the center of the heavens.'' (A Japanese translation of his work ``Almagest'' has been published by Koseisha Koseikaku Co.)

Geocentricism reigned for more than 1,000 years until Copernicus' theory of heliocentricism knocked it down.

09月22日付
■《天声人語》

 「地球のまわりに見える事柄は……地球を天空の中央に仮定することによつてのみ起り得る」。2世紀に、天動説を体系づけたプトレマイオスの『アルマゲスト』(恒星社厚生閣)の一節だ。コペルニクスが地動説を唱えて覆すまで、千数百年かかった。

But a newspaper report this week made me wonder for a moment, ``Has Ptolemy's theory made a comeback?''

When 348 fourth- to sixth-graders at public elementary schools were recently asked about the relationship between the sun and the Earth by researchers at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, 42 percent replied, ``The sun rotates around the Earth.''

 「プトレマイオスが復権か」と思わせるような調査結果が載っていた。太陽と地球についての問いで、公立小の4〜6年生348人のうち42%が「太陽は地球の周りを回っている」と答えた。

Certainly, it looks that way. But there are things that they should first know. To know that the Earth is one of many planets and that the sun is just one of the numerous fixed stars makes such a difference. This knowledge also leads children to think about the tininess and irreplaceability of the Earth which, for many, is of unlimited proportions.

This bit of information will also impress the erring children with the unreliability of the results of visual observation.

 なるほど、見た目にはそうだ。しかし、地球は一つの惑星で、太陽も、あまたある恒星の一つだ。そう知るだけでも、限りなく大きいと思われる地球の小ささ、かけがえのなさを考えるきっかけになるのではないか。見た目の不確かさも学ぶことになる。

When asked where the sun sets, 73 percent said the west, with 15 percent citing the east and 2 percent the south. The rates of correct answers tended to go down with children living in urban areas.

It is easy to find a reason for this phenomenon. For those living where there is no horizon, seeing how the sun looks just as it sinks below the horizon is a rare experience, even though they often see the sun go out of sight behind buildings. Moreover, those living in densely populated areas often find themselves in a windowless room at that decisive moment.

 太陽の沈む方位についても、西は73%で、東が15%、南が2%あった。都市部ほど、正答率が下がる傾向が見られたという。地平線も水平線も無い都会では、太陽がビルの陰に隠れるのは見えても、沈むという決定的瞬間に立ち会うのはまれだ。その時間に、窓の無い屋内に居ることも多い。

Yonagunijima island in Okinawa Prefecture is the westernmost part of the Japanese archipelago. The islet's west head is called Irizaki, a name which would normally be pronounced Nishizaki (west promontory).

Similarly, the east cape is named Agarizaki (east promontory), though the normal pronunciation in accordance with the spelling would be Higashizaki.

These place names serve as convenient indicators of direction to visitors to the islet if they have a knowledge of Chinese characters.

On the other hand, it is worrisome that places with confusing names as to direction seem to be increasing now.

 日本の最西端にある与那国島の、西の岬を西崎(いりざき)という。島の東の岬は東崎(あがりざき)である。これは、東西が極端に分かりやすい例だが、西も東も分からなくなるような場所が増えているのかと気になる。

Copernicus put forward his final version of heliocentricism in ``Six Books Concerning the Revolutions of the Heavenly Orbs.'' (A Japanese translation is available from the Iwanami paperback library.)

In the book, he refers to the heavens as something ``that unfailingly encompasses all beautiful things.''

Let us sow the seeds of astronomical interest in young minds. We can expect a bounteous harvest from such an enterprise.

 コペルニクスは、地動説の書『天体の回転について』で、「美しいものをすべて確実に包んでいるところの天」と記している(岩波文庫)。幼い心に天を宿らせる。育まれるものもまた限りなくあるだろう。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 22(IHT/Asahi: September 23,2004) (09/23)

Exciting Paralympics beat deserted ballparks


There was dancing around a huge tree placed in the stadium. People in wheelchairs accompanied those with impaired vision. Some of those present had been injured in war.

09月19日付
■《天声人語》

 グラウンドに出現した巨大な木の周りに人々が集い、舞う。車いすの人や、視力障害などの人たちが入り交じって行進する。戦場で傷を負ったという人たちも行く。

The Paralympics opened in Athens last Friday. In his Opening Ceremony address, International Paralympic Committee President Phil Craven quoted the Greek philosopher Democritus: ``To overcome oneself is the first and best of all victories.'' I am sure these were meant as words of welcome and encouragement to all who had overcome their various disabilities to gather in Athens.

 パラリンピック・アテネ大会が開幕した。「己に勝つことは、すべての勝利の中で最初の、そして最高のものだ」。国際パラリンピック委員会の会長は、開会式のあいさつで、ギリシャの哲人デモクリトスの言葉を引いた。様々な障害を克服して、この地に集った人たちへの歓迎と励ましなのだろう。

Democritus is famous not only for his atomic theory, but also for his extraordinary erudition. According to ``Puraton Izen-no Tetsugakusha-tachi'' (Pre-Platonic philosophers), published by Iwanami Shoten, Plato knew he could never match Democritus, and tried to burn all the books written by Democritus that he could lay his hands on. But Plato abandoned this plan after someone reminded him that since Democritus' works were already disseminated widely, there would be no point in burning just some of them.

 デモクリトスは、有名な原子論だけではなく、ず抜けた博識で知られていた。彼にはかなわないと思ったプラトンが、集められる限りの彼の本を焼き捨てようとしたが、既に広く世に流布しているのだから焼いても効果がないと止められたという逸話もある(『プラトン以前の哲学者たち』岩波書店)

It is said that Democritus was nicknamed ``Pentathlete'' and ``All-around athlete.'' He went blind shortly before he died, and he is said to have noted that what one could ``see'' with one's heart was far truer and more beautiful than what one saw with one's eyes.

 「5種競技の選手」「万能選手」といった愛称もあったらしい。死の少し前に盲目になった哲人が述べたという。「肉眼で見るものよりも心の眼で見ることのできるものの方がはるかに真であり美である」

Pro baseball stadiums in Japan form a sorry contrast to the Paralympics stadium filled with festivity and happy laughter. Deserted ballparks are a desolate sight, but I suppose this cannot be helped if the sport is to be freed from the sort of mentality that allows a club owner to dismiss ballplayers as ``nobodies'' and the commissioner to shrug aside his responsibility.

 華やかで、笑顔の輝く五輪スタジアムと対照的なのが日本のプロ野球のスタジアムだ。空っぽの球場は寒々しいが、「たかが」や「一億総懴悔(ざんげ)」などが行き交う状態から抜け出すためには、やむを得ない面もある。

Sept. 19 is the anniversary of the death of Masaoka Shiki, a poet who played an active role in promoting baseball in Japan. One poem goes: ``Those three bases are now filled with people/ My excitement mounts/ In spite of myself.''

I hope for a swift reopening of dialogue that will bring excitement back to the ballparks.

 今日は、日本の草創期の野球界で活躍した正岡子規の命日に当たる。〈今やかの三つのベースに人満ちてそゞろに胸のうちさわぐかな〉。胸うちさわぐスタジアムの復活へ向けて、速やかに対話の再開を。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 19(IHT/Asahi: September 22,2004) (09/22)

Life is often fullest when pared to the basics


What do people do when they realize that their remaining years are dwindling?

Some embark on diverse personal projects to make the most of their lives. Others switch to simple lifestyles by shedding things they can do without.

09月20日付
■《天声人語》

 人生の残り時間が少なくなってきた。そう思い始めたとき、人はどうするか。できるだけ豊かに多彩に生きようとするのか。あるいは余計なものを削りつつ、簡素な生き方を志すのか。

Koji Nakano, an author who died this summer, spent his last years shedding things he no longer needed. As he put it, ``I don't watch television, and I hate talking on the phone. I stay away from funerals and weddings. I turn down all invitations to parties held at night. The word processor and the Internet play no part in my life.''

But there were things he could not easily abandon, such as the innumerable books he owned.

 「テレビは見ない、電話は嫌い、冠婚葬祭、夜のパーティーはすべて欠席、ワープロ、インターネットとは無縁」。今夏亡くなった作家の中野孝次さんは、余計なものを排除しながら晩年を送った。しかし、容易に捨て去れないものもあった。数々の書物である。

Eventually, Nakano made an anguished decision to sell part of his cherished collection. ``One by one, I wrote down the names of the books to go,'' he recalled in ``Oino Komichi'' (Pathway of old age), a collection of essays published by Bungei Shunju.

The decision to sell became heartbreaking when the process of selection reached sets of the complete works of German authors. To Nakano, who had started out as a scholar of German literature, these works were his own flesh and blood. ``To bid farewell to them was literally as painful as hurting my body.''

 あるとき、愛蔵してきた本を手放す苦渋の決断をした。「別れるべき書物(文学者)の名を一つずつ書いていった」。たとえばドイツ文学者の全集は身内同然で「別れるのは文字通り身を切られるような辛さ」だった(『老いのこみち』文芸春秋)。

Even though his goal was a simple lifestyle, he also could not sacrifice the joy of having a few drinks in the evening.

In the afternoon, he ate nothing for a snack and limited his intake of water to ``condition'' himself for the delightful bout to come. ``While conditioning myself this way, I think of what is in store after dark. It is a prospect that causes my heart to leap,'' he wrote. By his own account, drinking alone, with ``my dogs sitting close by,'' was the most blissful time of his day.

 捨て去れないものもあった。酒の楽しみである。午後は間食せず、水分も控える。「そうやって体調の下拵えをしながら、日が暮れたときのことを思って、心をおどらせている」。そして「犬たちを傍らにはべらせての独り酒」に至福の時間を過ごした。

Nakano spent the rest of his time immersed in the world of Japanese, Chinese and Roman classics. He set a model of how to live a simple yet luxurious life in one's last years.

Living such a life rewarded him with an insight into the distortions of contemporary society.

Numerous warnings he issued before his death ring so true that nobody can dismiss them as ``what an old man keeps on saying.''

 残りの時間には、日本、中国や古代ローマの古典の世界に沈潜した。簡素でぜいたくな余生である。そんな生活の中から、いやおうなく見えてきたものがあった。現代社会のゆがみである。「老いの繰り言」とはいわせない数々の警告を残し、彼は逝った。

Let me quote a poem by Shuji Shimada, a poet who died just the other day: ``I would like to acquire/ The sharp eyes of the aged/ Who has become a total dependent.''

This poem teaches us that the aged should be respected if only for their sharp eyes alone. Monday was Respect for the Aged Day.

 つい先日亡くなった歌人島田修二さんにこんな作品がある。〈余計者になりてしまひし老人の目の鋭さをわがものにせん〉。老いた目の鋭さにも敬意を表すべき敬老の日だ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 20(IHT/Asahi: September 21,2004) (09/21)

Why does the world allow children to suffer?


Isadora Duncan, who sensationalized the 20th-century dance scene and is known as the mother of modern dance, once noted: ``So long as little children are allowed to suffer, there is no true love in this world.''

09月05日付
■《天声人語》

 20世紀の舞踊界に衝撃をもたらし、モダンダンスの祖ともいわれるイサドラ・ダンカンだが、こんな一文が彼女の言葉として残っている。「子どもたちが苦しむことを許しているかぎり、この世界に本当の愛は存在しない」

A number of children were victims in a hostage crisis at a school in the southern Russian republic of North Ossetia. Scores of youngsters were also injured and most likely left deeply traumatized. The tragedy made me think of Duncan-she lost two of her children at once.

 ロシア南部の北オセチア共和国で起きた学校占拠事件で大勢の子どもたちが犠牲になった。負傷し、また心に深い傷を負った子どもたちもたくさんいるだろう。2人の子どもを一度に失ったダンカンの悲嘆ぶりがよみがえる。

According to ``Waga Shogai'' (My life) published by Fuzanbo, Duncan often experienced flashes of extrasensory perception. While touring Russia in January 1913, she was on her way to her hotel in a sleigh when she ``saw'' a funeral cortege with two rows of coffins. What she saw was only in her imagination, but she was convinced the deceased were all children. That evening, Duncan was suddenly inspired to dance to Chopin's ``Funeral March.''

 彼女は霊的な直感にしばしば襲われた。1913年1月、ロシアに公演旅行をしたときだった。そりでホテルに向かう途中、柩(ひつぎ)が2列になって進んでいくのを見た。「ご覧なさいよ。みんな子供よ、みんな子供が死んだんだわ」。幻覚だった。その夜、彼女は突然思い立ってショパンの葬送行進曲を伴奏に踊った。

Three months later, her small son and daughter-neither was yet 10 years old-were killed in Paris when the car they were traveling in plunged into the river Seine. The tragedy shattered her, and for a while she hovered between life and death. She noted later that, when confronted with true sorrow, people don't know how to verbalize their feelings, nor are they able to express themselves by action.

 それから3カ月後、彼女の子ども、まだ10歳にもならない息子と娘は、車もろともパリのセーヌ川に落ち、死んだ。彼女の人生はそのとき二つに切り裂かれた。自身、生死の境をさまよった。「真実の悲しみに会うと、われわれは言葉で表わす術を知らないし、かといって動作で表わすことも出来ない」(『わが生涯』冨山房)

Duncan continued to blame herself for not having stopped her children from going out that day. I should imagine bereaved families in North Ossetia will also continue to blame themselves, thinking there must have been something they could have done to avert the tragedy. Their grief will never end.

 あの日、子どもたちを外出させなければよかった、とダンカンは悔やみ続けた。北オセチアの遺族も「自分に何かできたのではないか」と悔やみ続けるだろう。悲しみが解けることはあるまい。

I am stunned by the injustice in this world that has allowed children to suffer in Beslan.

 「子どもたちが苦しむこと」を、あのように許してしまった世界の理不尽さに、しばし立ちすくむ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 5(IHT/Asahi: September 20,2004) (09/20)

Everybody needs a space to call their own


Kyoji Mitarai, whose daughter Satomi was killed in June by her female classmate at a Sasebo elementary school in Nagasaki Prefecture, recently issued a statement. It read like a letter to Satomi: ``I still miss you so much. A feeling of desolation bowls me over.''

Mitarai's choice of words eloquently conveys his emotion. Yet, his grief must be too profound for words.

09月17日付
■《天声人語》

 今も君のいない寂しさがスクラムを組んでやってきます。長崎県佐世保市の小学校の事件で娘の怜美(さとみ)さんを奪われた御手洗(みたらい)恭二さんの思いが、独特な表現を通して伝わってくる。その思いの底には、言葉にはならない深い悲しみがあるのだろう。

More than 100 days after the tragedy, the Nagasaki Family Court decided Wednesday to commit the girl to a juvenile training and education facility. As I read a summary of the court decision, the expression ``ibasho'' (one's own space) caught my attention.

 事件から百余日、家裁は、同級生の女児を自立支援施設へ送るという保護処分を決めた。その決定要旨の「居場所」という文字が目についた。

To paraphrase the decision: For this girl, who was clumsy with face-to-face communication, her own Web site and a diary she exchanged with her classmates provided her the only ``space'' where she felt she could safely express herself and reaffirm her own presence. When someone else posted comments on her bulletin board the girl took this as an intrusion into her space. Her anger led to the deed she committed.

But, the court qualified, Satomi's comments were definitely not of a nature that would evoke murderous rage.

 会話でのコミュニケーションが不器用な女児にとって、交換ノートやインターネットが唯一安心して自己を表現し、存在感を確認できる「居場所」になっていた、とある。ホームページに書かれたことなどを「居場所」への侵入ととらえ、その怒りが事件につながったとする。しかし、その文章などは、他人に殺意を抱かせるようなものでは決してなかったという。

In the fatal kidnapping of two brothers-a 4-year-old and 3-year-old-in Oyama, Tochigi Prefecture, the body of the older boy was recovered Thursday, two days after his brother's. The name of the river the boys were thrown into is Omoi. In English this translates as ``thinking'' or ``feeling.''

It is so tragically ironic that a river with such a name became the scene of this exceptionally vicious crime.

I could not abhor this crime more. At the same time, I cannot help wondering with deep regret why these little boys were never given a safer environment.

 栃木県小山市で起きた幼児誘拐事件では、3歳の弟に続いて、4歳の兄が遺体でみつかった。思川(おもいがわ)という切ない名をもつ流れが、まれにみる残忍な事件の現場となってしまった。凶行は、憎んでも憎みきれないが、幼いふたりが、どこかで安心できる「居場所」を得られなかったものかと悔やまれる。

In ``Gendai no Esupuri Bessatsu'' (Special edition of Contemporary Wit magazine), Kenji Iwatsuki notes: ``Having one's own space is of the same significance to adults and children alike. If a parent feels he or she has no space of his or her own in the home, the kids are bound to feel the same, too.''

 「居場所というのは、大人にとっても、子どもにとっても同じ意味を持つ……自分の家には居場所がないと感じている親がいるとしたら、間違いなくその子どもも自分の家に居場所はないと感じているものだ」(『現代のエスプリ別冊』・岩月謙司)

Every person needs his or her own space, but it cannot be found easily.

 人は、それぞれの心の居場所を探している。しかし、それを見つけるのは容易ではない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 17(IHT/Asahi: September 18,2004) (09/18)

Justification for invading Iraq collapses


Perhaps I should say U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's recent statement before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee was only to be expected or made at long last, or both.

``It turned out that we have not found any stockpiles (of weapons of mass destruction),'' Powell conceded. ``I think it is unlikely that we will find any stockpiles.''

This is tantamount to an admission by a U.S. government's key person that President George W. Bush's justification for invading Iraq has finally collapsed.

09月16日付
■《天声人語》

 やはり、なのか、ついになのか、その両方とも言うべきか。イラクの大量破壊兵器についての、パウエル米国務長官の証言である。「いかなる備蓄も発見されておらず、我々が発見することはないだろう」。ブッシュ大統領の掲げた先制攻撃の根拠が崩れたことを、政権の中枢が認めた。

It was already obvious that Bush's justification, which hinged on the existence of the WMD, was tenuous at best. But even though the U.S. public's attention may be focused now on the presidential election in November, the Americans would be wrong not to remind themselves once again of the magnitude of damage wrought by their government's pre-emptive strike against Iraq.

The Iraqi body count is estimated at more than 10,000. Countless Iraqis have been injured. The invading troops have also suffered a heavy toll. The United States alone has lost more than 1,000 of its own soldiers.

 この根拠が崩れていることは、半ば公然ではあった。米国民の関心も、次の大統領選の方に向いているかもしれない。しかし、先制攻撃に始まる惨害の大きさを、ここで改めて思わないわけにはいかない。万を超えるイラク人が死んだとの推定がある。傷ついた人たちの数は計り知れない。攻め込んだ側の死者も増え続け、米国だけで千人以上になった。

In ``The Fog of War,'' which won this year's Academy Award for Documentary Feature, Robert McNamara talks of the ``foggy''nature of war. The former Pentagon chief during the Vietnam War said, ``We see incorrectly or we see only half of the story at times.'' He also notes to the effect that while he is proud of what he has achieved, he also regrets the mistakes he has made.

 「戦争は霧の中の存在だ」。今年、アカデミー賞の長編ドキュメンタリー賞を受けた「フォッグ・オブ・ウォー」で、ベトナム戦争当時の国防長官だったマクナマラ氏が証言していた。「我々の目は曇りがちだ。半面しか見えなくなる」「私は自分の成したことに誇りを持っているが、犯した過ちを悔いている」

McNamara goes on to quote from the British poet T.S. Eliot's ``Four Quartets,'' saying it expresses his present sentiment in a way. The poem goes:

``We shall not cease from exploration/ And the end of all our exploring/ Will be to arrive where we started/ And know the place for the first time.''

 そして英国の詩人T・S・エリオットを引用する。「人は探究をやめない そして探究の果てに元の場所に戻り、初めてその地を理解する」。ある意味で今の自分がそうだ、と。

I certainly acknowledge the value of McNamara's words in this film. However, I wonder if he has ever thought about those many people, to whom any chance of exploring or knowing the place where they started has been forever denied by war.

 この証言の価値は大いに認めたい。しかし、戦争によって、探究することも、元の場所に戻ることも永遠に奪われてしまった幾多の人々については、どう考えているのだろうか。

I want to put the same question to Bush as well as Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who continues to support Bush's war of invasion.

 ブッシュ大統領や、その先制攻撃を支持し続ける小泉首相にも向けたい問いである。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 16(IHT/Asahi: September 17,2004) (09/17)

Private musings on Monet's love of poplars


Claude Monet often painted a row of poplar trees. Perhaps the best known of these works is his picture of four poplars in 1891.

The trees were due to be felled. But Monet is said to have paid to have the job postponed so he could finish his painting.

09月15日付
■《天声人語》

 モネはポプラ並木をたびたび描いた。よく知られるのが1891年制作の「4本のポプラ」だろう。伐採される予定だったのをお金を出して延期してもらい、描き続けたといわれる。

The slender tree trunks, which are reflected in a body of water close to where they are standing, is almost a perfect geometrical composition. Brimming with Monet's typical sensibilities, the painting conveys the subtle movement of branches and water.

The picture captures how the four poplars looked to Monet before they were felled. In a sense, it is a picture of something that has died.

 水辺に立つポプラのほっそりとした幹だけが描かれている。水面に映る幹とつながって画面を区切り、一見幾何学的な構図だ。しかし、木と水の微妙な揺らぎが伝わってくる、モネらしい繊細さをたたえている。4本のポプラの最後の姿であり、遺影ともいえるだろう。

Strong winds whipped up by Typhoon No. 18 took a heavy toll on a row of poplars on the campus of Hokkaido University, blowing down nearly half the trees. Newspaper photographs show the storm made a shambles of the famous stand of poplars. Apparently, no one was around to witness their last moments, as Monet did in his painting. The school says it will try to resuscitate the famous row.

 台風18号の強風で、北海道大学のポプラ並木が半分近く倒れた。写真で見ると、たくさんの木が無残な姿で横たわっている。モネのように最期を見届ける人もなく、突然なぎ倒されたのだろう。多くの人に親しまれてきた並木であり、大学では「再生」を試みるそうだ。

Etymologically, the word poplar is derived from the Latin populus, meaning people. In ancient Rome, people are said to have often gathered for meetings in the shade of stately poplars.

As if reflecting Roman practice, poplars are often associated with humans. The trees have an average life expectancy of between 60 and 70 years, much like humans,

A poem by Takashi Okai goes: ``With the summer departing/ The declining poplar branch by my window/ Seems like my older sister.''

 ポプラの語源はラテン語のポプルス(人民、人々)だという。古代ローマの人々はその木陰でよく集会を開いた、と伝えられる。だからというわけではないだろうが、ポプラはしばしば人の姿に擬せられる。寿命も60〜70年といわれ、人間に近い。〈夏ぞゆく、わが窓のべのポプラアのおとろうる枝姉のごとしも〉(岡井隆)。

Once, I came across a row of poplars at a spot where inhuman acts took place-that is, the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.

The poplars, reaching toward the blue sky, are said to have been planted by internees. The tall trees gave the place a peaceful look. But to me, it only added to the grimness imparted by the innumerable items of memorabilia on display in the darkened rooms.

 非人間的な場所でポプラ並木にめぐりあったこともある。ポーランドのアウシュビッツ強制収容所跡だ。青空に伸びるポプラが穏やかさを醸しだしているだけに、暗い室内に陳列された遺品の数々が地獄絵として強く印象づけられた。収容された人たちが植えたともいわれる。

The poplar tree is like a basket full of various human thoughts. You could say it's a basket that also stirs the human memory.

 様々な思いが刻み込まれ、人々の記憶を揺さぶる樹木である。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 15(IHT/Asahi: September 16,2004) (09/16)

Mutual distrust reinforces nuclear addiction


Six years after winning the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize, medical missionary and theologian Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) appealed for the abolition of nuclear weapons in a broadcast from Radio Oslo. Addressing a world torn by the Cold War and increasingly fearful of a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union, Schweitzer packed his appeal with timeless insight.

09月14日付
■《天声人語》

 1952年にノーベル平和賞を受賞したシュバイツァーは6年後、オスロ放送局から核兵器放棄を訴えるラジオ放送をした。東西冷戦のさなかで、米ソ核戦争への不安が広がっていた。訴えには時代を超える洞察もちりばめられている。

Not only did he urge the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union--then the only nations possessing nuclear arms--to abandon their weapons, but he also warned of the frightening consequences of such weapons falling into the hands of unscrupulous troublemakers.

According to ``Kaku-no Kasa-ni Owareta Sekai'' (A world shadowed by a nuclear umbrella), a book from Heibonsha, Schweitzer said to the effect that once a crack formed in a dam, that dam was doomed to burst.

 当時の核保有国、米英ソに放棄を呼びかけるだけでなく、核兵器が身勝手な厄介者の手に渡る恐れについてもふれた。「いったんダムに亀裂が生じれば、そのダムの崩壊は必至です」(『核の傘に覆われた世界』平凡社)

Since the end of the Cold War, the ``dam bursting'' seems to have been escalating rapidly. The existence of a widespread network of black marketers, dealing in equipment and information related to nuclear weapons, has come to light.

In his confession this year, Abdul Qadeer Khan, dubbed the ``father of Pakistani nuclear development,'' revealed a part of his underground operations.

 冷戦後、「ダムの崩壊」が急速に進んでいるようだ。核兵器関連の機器や情報を闇で売りさばく市場が根を張っていることが明らかになってきた。パキスタン核開発の父といわれるカーン博士が今年、その一端を告白した。

Corporations in more than 20 countries are said to have been involved in Khan's black market. But the ``real purchasers'' were nations, and named among them were North Korea and Iran. Given the possibility of terrorist organizations getting hold of those weapons, it is truly chilling to imagine ``ultimate weapons'' changing hands in the black market.

 彼の闇市場には20カ国以上の企業がかかわっていたといわれる。最終的な買い手は国家である。北朝鮮、イランなどの名前があがった。テロ組織に渡るのではないかと危惧(きぐ)する声もある。「究極の兵器」が闇から闇へ流れる不気味さは底知れない。

Schweitzer also lamented in his radio address: ``We live in a time when the good faith of people is doubted more than ever before. Expressions throwing doubt on the trustworthiness of each other are bandied back and forth.''

Our present time is no different. The mutual distrust of those who feel they must have nuclear weapons is throwing the world into fits of anxiety, and this in turn is further reinforcing the world's addiction to nuclear weaponry.

 「私たちの生きている時代は、人々の善意というものが、いまだかつてないほど疑われています。互いの信頼を傷つけるようなものの言い方が、みさかいもなく投げつけられています」。シュバイツァーは放送でそう嘆きもした。核兵器に群がる人々の相互不信が世界を不安に陥れ、核兵器への依存をいっそう強める。現代もまたそうだ。

South Korea has admitted scientists conducted nuclear-related experiments. In North Korea, a massive explosion was reported recently. Even though this was apparently not a nuclear test, I worry about a deepening of mistrust.

 韓国で核関連の実験が行われていた。北朝鮮では大規模爆発が起きたらしい。核実験ではないにしても不信の深まりを懸念する。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 14(IHT/Asahi: September 15,2004) (09/15)

Today's problems making us `envy the future'


German philosopher Immanuel Kant died 200 years ago. On the anniversary of Kant's death, Germany's foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, offered flowers at his grave and said that Kant's views on law, morality and peace have not lost their relevance even in a time of war, in this case the conflict in Iraq.

09月11日付
■《天声人語》

 今年は、ドイツの哲学者カントの没後200年にあたる。「カントの法と道徳、平和に対する考えは、イラク戦争が起きた現在でも光を失うことはない」。命日に墓に献花したドイツ外相が述べた。

Kant had advocated the abolition of standing armies in his essay ``Perpetual Peace.''

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of Costa Rica, a country with a constitutional ban on holding a standing army and thus committed to the doctrine of ``unarmed neutrality,'' has handed down a severe verdict to the Costa Rican government. It ruled that the executive branch acted against the spirit of the Constitution and international law when it supported the U.S.-led coalition's pre-emptive strike on Iraq.

The top court also ordered the government to demand that the country be stricken from the U.S. list of willing allies in Iraq.

 カントは「永遠の平和のために」で、常備軍の廃止を提唱した。その常備軍を憲法で禁じた「非武装中立」のコスタリカの最高裁が、イラク戦争に絡んで政府に厳しい判決を下した。米国の先制攻撃を政府が支持したのは、憲法や国際法などの精神に反し違憲とした。米国の「有志連合」のリストからの削除を米側に求めよとも命じた。

It has been three years since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Two wars have been launched in response to the terror strikes that sent shock waves throughout the world. Divisions have grown between those who sided with the United States against Iraq, and those who did not.

Key reasons cited for going to war with Iraq have lost their validity, but the fighting continues, taking a heavy civilian casualty toll.

 9・11の同時多発テロから3年がたつ。世界中が総立ちになるほどの衝撃の後、二つの戦争を重ねてきた。有志、非有志での亀裂も生じた。戦争の大義は崩れ続けたが、戦闘はやまず、民間人の殺傷も続く。

The country that produced Kant also built up a mighty standing army and invaded its neighbors in the 20th century.

Walter Benjamin, a Jewish-German author, was driven to suicide by the Nazis. According to his writings, translated into Japanese and published by Shobunsha, someone who lived before his time said, ``One of the most noteworthy characteristics of human sentiment is that although individual humans live with many personal desires, the present does not make humanity as a whole envy the future.''

 カントの国は、20世紀には、強大な常備軍で周囲を侵略した。ナチスに追われて自殺したユダヤ系ドイツ人作家ベンヤミンが、先人の言葉を書き留めている。「人間の感情のもっとも注目すべき特質のひとつは、個々人としては多くの我欲があるにもかかわらず、人間全体としては現在が未来に羨望をおぼえないことだ」(『ヴァルター・ベンヤミン著作集』晶文社)

The present is of immeasurable importance to human beings. But does this still apply these days? Doesn't the succession of tragic events like war and terrorism make us long for the future?

The vicious cycle of hate and violence seems to be having a major impact on the sentiments of humankind as a whole.

 人間にとって「現在」の重みは計り知れない。しかし最近はこんな問いも浮かぶ。相次ぐ戦争やテロなどの悲惨な現在の累積が、未来への羨望(せんぼう)を呼び起こすことはないのだろうか、と。

 憎悪と暴力の連鎖は、人間全体の感情のありようまで大きく揺さぶっているように見える。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 11(IHT/Asahi: September 14,2004) (09/14)

ETs phoning Earth? Somebody take the call!


Reuters reported Sept. 4: ``An unexplained radio signal from deep space could-just might be-contact from an alien civilization.'' The story excited astronomers around the world, as it was based on an earlier New Scientist magazine article that concluded the signal was from 1,000 light years away.

09月10日付
■《天声人語》

 「地球外の文明からのメッセージかもしれない」。今月初めに流れたロイター電である。千光年ほどの宇宙のかなたから未知の電波が届いたという。科学雑誌の記事をもとにした報道だっただけに関係者を興奮させた。

``The signal, coming from a point between the Pisces and Aries constellations, has been picked up three times by a telescope in Puerto Rico,'' Reuters said.

``New Scientist said the signal could be generated by a previously unknown astronomical phenomenon or even a byproduct from the telescope itself,'' the story went on.

 プエルトリコにある世界最大級の電波望遠鏡がとらえた電波で、うお座とおひつじ座の間あたりから発せられた。謎の電波はSHGb02+14aと命名された。異星人からの信号かもしれないし、知られていなかった自然現象かもしれない、と報じられた。

The mysterious signal, named SHGb02+14a, had been analyzed by the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), an institute set up at the University of California, Berkeley, to catch extraterrestrial radio signals from civilizations that may exist in outer space.

 広い宇宙には地球以外にも文明を発達させた生命がいるはずだ。彼らが発した電波をつかまえよう、とカリフォルニア大バークリー校につくられたのがSETI(地球外知性探査)という組織だ。今回の謎の電波も、SETIが分析していた。

At the time the New Scientist and Reuters articles appeared, expectations were high for discovering extraterrestrial life because the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had just announced the first discovery of a new class of ``non-gaseous'' planets-probably ``rocky'' like Earth-beyond the solar system.

But SETI was quick to disclaim the magazine and wire service reports as ``exaggerated,'' noting that even though the signal was on the institute's ``best candidates'' list, the possibility of its being a message from an extraterrestrial civilization was practically nil.

 折しも米航空宇宙局(NASA)が、太陽系外にガス状でない地球のような惑星が見つかったと発表、地球外生命への期待が高まっていた。しかし謎の電波のニュースが世界中に流れたあと、SETIはあわてて「誇張された記事だ」と打ち消した。注目すべき信号のリストには入っていたが、異文明からの信号の可能性はほとんどない、と。

But what if it were indeed a message from outer space? The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has agreed not to respond until a decision has been reached by an international conference.

It is exciting, though, to imagine SETI withholding information while secretly making preparations for an IAU conference.

 仮に地球外の文明からの通信だったらどうするか。国際天文学連合などは「国際会議で合意ができるまで返事はしない」と申し合わせている。SETIは情報をおさえつつ、ひそかに国際会議の準備をしているのではないか、と想像をふくらますのも、また楽しい。

However, even if Earth were to respond, it would be a millennium before the response reaches the signal's sender-an astronomically lengthy lag in communication indeed.

 ただし向こうに返事が届くのが千年後、気の長いやりとりになる。

-The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 10(IHT/Asahi: September 11,2004) (09/11)

Mizukami wrote of the eternal here and now


Three years ago, I received a surprise letter from novelist Tsutomu Mizukami, who died Wednesday at age 85. Mizukami wrote: ``I was honored that you made use of what I wrote in `Riyaka wo Hiite' (Pulling a two-wheeled cart) in your column about the day Japan lost World War II.''

09月09日付
■《天声人語》

 「終戦の日のことを書くのに、私の『リヤカーをひいて』からの文章を活用してくださり、光栄でございました――」。昨日85歳で亡くなった水上勉さんから、思いがけない手紙を受け取ったのは、3年前だった。

In a column about Aug. 15, 1945, I had quoted a passage from Mizukami's work of that title. His letter arrived a few days after I had sent him a short thank-you note and a copy of the newspaper in which the column appeared.

 「昭和20年8月15日」のことを書いたコラムに、水上さんの、この日の回想文の一節を引用した。簡単な礼状と、掲載した新聞を送った何日かあとに、手紙が届いた。

I never had a chance to interview Mizukami in person, but I managed to attend a function years ago when he gave a speech. My impression of him was just as I had imagined from his works and television appearances. I recall sensing his passion and intensity, coiled deep within his handsome and serene exterior.

 水上さんから直接取材したことはないが、かなり以前に、何かの集まりであいさつするのを見た。作品やテレビを通して思い描いていた通りの印象を受けた。たたずまいの端正さや静かさと、その奥底にうずくまっている熱情のようなものを感じた覚えがある。

Shinroku Komatsu, a literary critic, observes in ``Showa Bungaku Zenshu'' (Collection of Showa literature): ``I once described Mizukami's literary style as `poetry of daily life.' His works are haunting lullabies from his hometown and vagabond songs. They are also poetic compositions about life as a pilgrimage, and an elegy for a Japan that is no more.''

Mizukami's words are simple but never hollow, Komatsu adds. They are deep and packed with substance.

 『昭和文学全集』(小学館)の解説に、小松伸六さんが書いていた。「私は以前水上文学を、『生活する歌ごころ』と書いたことがある。それは在所の悲しい子守唄であり、放浪生活歌である。また人生遍路の諷詠であり、失われた日本へのエレジーでもある」。簡素で、しかも空疎ではなく深い内実のある、地べたからの発言だという。

On the day of Japan's defeat, Mizukami did not hear the emperor's radio broadcast of surrender. He was pulling a two-wheeled cart up a hill in his native Wakasa region (present-day Fukui Prefecture), transporting an invalid in sweltering heat.

In ``Hachigatsu Jugonichi to Watashi'' (August 15 and I), a paperback from Kadokawa Shoten, Mizukami writes: ``People do not live any `historic day.' People always live through the here and now, with moments of hard feelings, hatred, love and pleasure in their daily lives.''

 終戦の日、あの放送を、水上さんが聞くことはなかった。そのころ、炎天下、リヤカーに病人を乗せて、郷里・若狭の坂道に居た。「人は『歴史的な日』などを生きるものではない。人は、いつも怨憎(おんぞう)愛楽の人事の日々の、具体を生きる」(『八月十五日と私』角川文庫)

With his sharp yet kindly insight that sensed the breathing and deep feelings of people who struggled through lives of total anonymity, Mizukami portrayed the here and now of human existence.

 地をはうように生きる人々の、息づかいや胸の内奥にまで、するどくも優しいまなざしを向けながら、日々の具体を描き通した。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 9(IHT/Asahi: September 10,2004) (09/10)

Baseball players take on arrogant owners


Pitcher Yutaka Enatsu of the Hiroshima Carp threw only 21 pitches in the final game of the Japan Series in 1979. But one play during his brief appearance made legend, a play still vividly remembered by many people. Of all the memorable scenes from the annual series, fans would single it out as the most moving.

When the veteran closer took the mound in the bottom of the ninth inning, his team was a run ahead of its opponents, the Kintetsu Buffaloes. With one out, the bases were loaded. He was facing a Buffalo batter named Shigeru Ishiwata.

09月08日付
■《天声人語》

 日本シリーズに名場面は数多いが、多くの人の記憶に今も鮮やかなのは、79年の近鉄対広島の最終戦での「江夏の21球」だろう。9回裏、1死満塁。1点リードする広島の江夏が、石渡への2球目の投球モーションに入った。

The critical moment came as he was about to deliver his second pitch to Ishiwata. Recounting the episode later, Enatsu told nonfiction writer Junji Yamagiwa: ``When I looked at Ishiwata before releasing the ball, I saw him move his bat. I thought Ishiwata was doing what any batter would do now. I sensed it at once, and in a split second, I decided I should change my delivery.'' (The quote appears in a collection of Yamagiwa's sports and nonfiction writings, published by Bungei Shunju.)

Enatsu was referring to a squeeze bunt by Ishiwata, of course. Thanks to his split-second decision, the curveball he delivered sailed past the Buffalo's bat.

 「石渡を見たとき、バットがスッと動いた。来た! そういう感じ。時間にすれば百分の一秒のことかもしれん」(『山際淳司スポーツ・ノンフィクション傑作集成』文芸春秋)。ぎりぎりの一瞬でスクイズを外した球は、曲がるように落ち、バットをすり抜けた。

It was a scene that made pulses race even among people who do not follow baseball news.

Conventional wisdom says that if the first-ever strike planned by Japanese professional baseball players goes on for a long time, the Japan Series, the stage for splendid plays like Enatsu's, might be affected.

Fearful of a backlash from angry fans, the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association agonized over its decision to go on strike.

 プロ野球ファンでなくとも心躍る場面だ。もし、日本球界初のストライキが決行されて長引けば、日本シリーズにも影響が出る可能性があるという。選手会は、自らにも跳ね返りかねない苦しい選択をした。

Professional baseball would cease to exist if there were no players in the ballpark. So players are as important to the game as fans. But the owners still seem to look down on players, as indicated by the use of the derogatory word takaga (mere, or at best) by a former owner.

If they feel that way about players, they must be feeling the same way about baseball itself. It is no surprise that the ball clubs, with their unyielding attitude, seem to have been the party mainly responsible in the dispute for driving players to the brink of launching the first-ever strike.

 選手がいなければ野球は成り立たない。ファンと共に、野球の根幹である選手を「たかが」と言うのは「たかが野球」と言うに等しい。ストという瀬戸際にまで来た経緯には、経営者側のかたくなな姿勢が目立った。

When Isoo Abe was a professor at Waseda University, he defined baseball as a sport that ``teaches the three virtues of wisdom, benevolence and courage.'' The first head of the school's baseball club believed that people could make good judgments when they were mentally as well as physically agile.

To quote further from a book, ``Abe Isoo,'' published by Ronsosha, he made other remarks about baseball.

``Because baseball is a sport that requires cooperation, those who play the game must bend their wills to a degree,'' he said.

On another occasion, he observed: ``Whether a batter succeeds in getting over the fear of being hit by a ball is a matter of whether you have courage or not.''

 早稲田大学教授で、初代野球部長だった安部磯雄は「野球は智仁勇(ちじんゆう)の三徳を教ゆるもの」とした。体だけでなく心も敏捷(びんしょう)なら良い判断ができる。野球は「協同遊戯」だから「苟(いやし)くも他人と協同せんとする者は各幾分か自己の意志を曲げるといふことがなくてはならぬ」。「(死球の恐怖と闘う)バツテングに成功すると否とは全く勇気の有ると否とに依りて定まる」(『安部磯雄』論創社)

Those observations from a century ago are still quotable enough. I hope that not just the players in the dispute but the ball executives will read them closely.

 1世紀を経ても味がある。選手だけではなく、経営の側の人にも玩味してもらいたい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 8(IHT/Asahi: September 9,2004) (09/09)

Weathering the storms in Okinawa and Florida


According to Okinawan-born poet Baku Yamanoguchi, people in Tokyo are prone to overstatement. By way of example, he wrote in an essay that when a slightly strong breeze blows, Tokyoites make a fuss over it, calling it a gale-force wind.

09月06日付
■《天声人語》

 東京は、ものごとを大げさに言うところだと思った。ちょっと強い風が吹くとすぐ暴風だと言って騒ぐ。かつて随筆でそう書いたのは、沖縄出身の詩人山之口貘(ばく)だ。

In Okinawa, wind speeds of 180 kph are not uncommon. Sometimes even, people are trapped in their homes for three or four days at a time.

In his essay ``Bofu-e-no Kyoshu'' (Nostalgia for violent winds), Yamanoguchi recalls how he helped his father bolster the storm doors with timber and rope made of hemp.

Even though Okinawans are used to the work, having to do it as often as they have in 2004, a year that has seen an unusually high number of typhoons pass over the island chain, must be a burden to them.

 沖縄では台風が来れば風速50メートルは当たり前で、しかも3日も4日も家に閉じこめられる。そう書きながら彼は、棒と麻縄で雨戸を補強する父の手伝いをした思い出を記した(「暴風への郷愁」)。慣れているとはいえ、今年のようにたびたび襲われるとさすがに大変だろう。

Okinawa Prefecture is not unlike the state of Florida, which is hit by hurricanes almost every year. As with typhoons, considerably more hurricanes than usual seem to have developed this year, which is why people have started to call it ``an unlucky year for Florida.''

 米国でいえば、毎年のようにハリケーンの標的になってきたフロリダ州にあたる。台風と同じように、今年はハリケーンの発生が例年よりかなり多いらしい。「フロリダにとって不運な年」といわれている。

Still fresh in the memory is Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the most damaging hurricane ever. Many people lost their homes, and some towns emerged from the storm as virtual ghost towns.

All told, the damage the cyclone caused was estimated at $25 billion (2.75 trillion yen). It was a presidential election year, and some people theorized that the slow response of President George H.W. Bush, the current president's father, helped blow away his bid for re-election.

 最近では、史上最大の被害をもたらした92年の「アンドルー」が記憶に新しい。多くの人が家を失い、廃虚同然になった町もあった。被害総額は250億ドルとされる。大統領選挙の年で、今の大統領の父、ブッシュ氏の対応が遅れ、再選失敗にも影響を与えたという説も出たほどだ。

Hurricane Frances, which started to pound Florida over the weekend, is considered an especially powerful cyclone. Probably, many people are recalling ``the nightmare of Andrew'' more than a decade ago.

A local paper ran a story about a group of Floridians who, instead of following evacuation orders, popped champagne bottles for a ``hurricane party'' in an attempt to ease their fears.

 週末から影響が出ている「フランシス」も強いハリケーンだ。「アンドルーの悪夢」を思い出している人も多いだろう。避難命令が出ているなか、シャンパンを抜いて「ハリケーンパーティー」を開く人たちを地元紙が紹介していた。恐怖を和らげるためだという。

Meanwhile, Typhoon No. 18, a big and very potent storm, has begun to unleash its fury on Okinawa.

As Yamanoguchi puts it, the sturdily built Okinawan houses ``dare to contend with typhoon winds and rain,'' rather than being ``attacked.'' I am sure that the spiritual toughness of Okinawans, as shown in their houses, will help them weather the latest storm.

 大型で非常に強い台風18号も猛威をふるい始めた。台風に襲われるというより、頑丈につくられた沖縄の家が「暴風雨に挑みかかるのだ」と山之口は表現した。その強さで嵐を切り抜けてほしい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 6(IHT/Asahi: September 8,2004) (09/08)

Awful acts of terrorism shock the world


The TV screen suddenly showed an image of a near-naked child dashing behind a big, camouflaged armored vehicle that was parked on the school grounds. Soon, soldiers began running, preparing to fire their rifles, and then another child came running.

Images of children in their underwear in the unlikely company of soldiers holding their weapons streamed continuously across TV screens as the siege in North Ossetia, a republic in southern Russia, came to a dramatic end on Friday.

09月04日付
■《天声人語》

 裸の子供の姿が画面に映る。その前に、迷彩を施した大きな装甲車がある。銃を構えた兵士が走る。また子供が逃げて来る。赤裸の子供と兵器という、限りなく似つかわしくない取り合わせの映像が延々と続いた。

With explosives and gunfire ringing out, the school was transformed into a battlefield. As I watched the conflict and thought of the numerous children held hostage, I recalled a photograph taken on a Vietnamese battlefield.

 ロシア南部の北オセチア共和国での学校占拠事件は、昨日大きく動いた。爆発音や銃声がとどろき、子供たちが巻き込まれた「戦場」の光景に、ベトナムの戦場で撮られた一枚の写真を思い浮かべた。

The Pulitzer-prize winning picture showed a naked girl running down the center of a road, her face turned toward the camera, crying as she held her hands at an oblique angle. Around her were boys and girls, and black smoke from bombs rose beyond them.

Nick Ut's photograph captured naked Vietnamese children fleeing napalm bombing, even if only by a few steps.

 画面の中央付近に、裸の少女がいる。道路の上でこちらを向き、手を斜め下におろし、泣いている。周りには少年や少女がいる。向こうに、爆撃による黒煙が上がっている。裸の少女たちは、戦禍から一歩でも逃れようとしている。ピュリツァー賞を受けた、ニック・ウット氏によるベトナムの子らの姿だ。

An article written by novelist and psychiatrist Nada Inada last year also comes to mind. He referred to Russian revolutionary Boris Savinkov Ropshin's book ``The Pale Horse,'' saying: ``The terrorist (in the book) decided against throwing a bomb at the prince's carriage when he saw children aboard. But such humanity is absent from what terrorists do these days and from the war on terror.''

 昨年、精神科医で作家の、なだいなださんが、ロシアの革命家だったロープシンの著書「蒼ざめた馬」に触れながら書いていた。「テロリストは、爆弾を投げようとした大公の馬車に、子どもたちが同乗しているのを見て、決行を思いとどまる。しかし今のテロにも、対テロ戦争にも、そのような人間性はない」

The awful, tragic end to the hostage crisis seems to suggest that the school seizure capped a recent series of indiscriminate terrorist bombings in Russia of two commercial aircraft and the Moscow subway.

How the battle erupted last Friday is still unknown. But what the terrorists did to the children of North Ossetia is simply unforgivable.

 飛行機で地下鉄で、無差別の爆破テロがロシアで続いた。その極みのように悲惨な、学校占拠事件の結末だ。昨日の戦闘の経緯は、よく分からない。しかし、子供を狙うテロの非道は言語道断だ。

Indiscriminate killings continue around the world, not just in Russia. I wonder if even a call for ``a minimum level of humanity''-keeping children at least away from the threat of weapons-will fall on deaf ears.

 無差別の殺戮(さつりく)は、ロシア以外でも続いている。子供たちだけは、武器、兵器から引き離す。そんな最低限の「人間性」を願うことすらできないのだろうか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 4(IHT/Asahi: September 7,2004) (09/07)

Greece once again the `navel' of the world


Around 500 years ago, Italian artist Michelangelo painted arguably some of his best works on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. The stunning paintings were restored some years ago and were returned to their former glory.

Just after the repair work had been finished, I had the chance to get a close-up view of the section called ``The Sibyl of Delphi'' atop scaffolding that had yet to be taken down.

08月29日付
■《天声人語》

 ミケランジェロが、ローマ・バチカンのシスティーナ礼拝堂に壮大な天井画を描いたのは約500年前である。先年修復されて色鮮やかによみがえった。修復作業が終わったばかりの「デルフォイの巫女(みこ)」の部分を、堂内に組んだやぐらの上から間近に見たことがある。

The picture showed a medium, a young woman with sanguine skin and wide-open eyes. Her delicate lips were slightly parted as she issued a sibyl. The medium's chestnut-colored locks cascaded down her back.

The portrayal of youth is the most colorful and vivid among the august paintings that depict scenes from the Book of Genesis and The Last Judgment.

 肌の色もみずみずしい巫女が目を見開き、かすかに口を開けて神託を発しようとしている。栗色の巻き毛が肩の後ろで豊かにうねる。創世記の物語や最後の審判を描いた荘重な絵画の群れの中で、最も華やかで、若々しい香気漂う一角だ。

The sibyl's namesake Delphi is located at the foot of Mount Parnassos in central Greece. It was known as the place where Apollo let loose with his prophecies.

The Pythian Games, similar to the ancient Olympics, were held there. The ruins of the shrine and the stadium can still be found at Delphi.

 デルフォイはギリシャ中部のパルナッソスの山麓(さんろく)にあり、アポロン神の預言の地として知られた。古代オリンピックに似た「ピュティア祭」が開かれ、神殿や競技場の遺跡が今も残る。

Visitors to the museum there are quickly drawn to a stone called Omphalos, or navel. It is shaped like a giant hanging bell. The stone was so named because ancient Greeks are said to have thought that Delphi was the navel of the world.

That view was based on a myth that when Zeus released an eagle at each end of the world to find the center of the globe, the two birds met in Delphi.

 デルフォイの博物館に入ると目につくのは、オンファロス(へそ)と呼ばれる石だ。大きな釣り鐘のような形をしている。古代ギリシャ人は、デルフォイを「世界のへそ」と考えていたという。その昔ゼウスが、世界の中心をみつけようとして世界の両端からワシを1羽ずつ放った。2羽はデルフォイで出合ったそうだ。

Japanese often dismiss people or things that make no sense by saying, ``Chinpun kanpun,'' the English equivalent being: ``It's Greek to me.''

Probably, Apollo's sibyls, announced by the shrine maidens of Delphi, were verdicts that were mysteriously confusing and hard if not impossible to make out.

 意味のわからない言葉や、それを言う人のことを「ちんぷんかんぷん」という。珍紛漢紛などとも書く。英語では「It’s Greek to me」などともいう。デルフォイの巫女たちが媒介した神のお告げも、謎めいていて分かりにくかったのではないか。

Over the past three weeks, the words of Apollo, the god of prophecy and light, drew hot attention from all over the world, while Greece made its comeback as the ``navel'' of the world.

 この半月は、預言と光明の神・アポロンへの熱いまなざしが世界から集中して、「世界のへそ」ギリシャが、よみがえった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 29(IHT/Asahi: September 6,2004) (09/06)

Mr. President, history will be judged by results


Following the Republican Party's official nomination of George W. Bush as the presidential candidate and Dick Cheney as his running mate, the U.S. presidential election will be fought between these two and their Demoratic Party counterparts, John Kerry and John Edwards.

Prior to Bush's acceptance speech, however, one could not but notice his contradictory remarks concerning the war on terror.

09月03日付
■《天声人語》

 米大統領選挙での対決は、「ブッシュ、チェイニー(共和党)対ケリー、エドワーズ(民主党)」と正式に決まった。指名受諾演説を前に、対テロ戦争についてのブッシュ発言の乱れぶりが目についた。

Asked on NBC television whether he thought America could win its war on terror, Bush replied, ``I don't think you can win it.'' But in a speech the following day, the president said, ``But make no mistake about it, we are winning and we will win.''

 米テレビに聞かれた時は、対テロ戦に「勝てるとは思わない」と答えた。ところが翌日の演説はこうなる。「確かなことは、この戦争に勝ちつつあり、勝つだろうということだ」

Given that Bush obviously had no qualms about switching freely from one excuse to another for invading Iraq, it may well be that he had inadvertently uttered what he really thought.

One U.S. newspaper noted that ``the more he says it without proof of victory, the more likely it is that he will be the loser on Election Day.''

 重大な、イラクへの先制攻撃の根拠ですらクルクルと変える人である。つい本音が出て、急ぎ修正したのかも知れない。「勝利の確証が無いのに、大統領が勝つ勝つと言えば言うほど、彼は投票の日に敗者に近づく」と評した米紙もある。

I watched Michael Moore's ``Fahrenheit 911'' which ``stars'' Bush and was billed by the director himself as ``a movie you should enjoy in a theater for two hours like any entertainment flick.''

The president's caricaturized portrayal evoked feelings of bathos and also caused me to worry about his weakness and spinelessness. However, I wouldn't call the endless scenes of people and towns being bombed and a weeping Iraqi woman screaming, ``I've arranged five funerals because of these bombings,'' entertainment.

 いわば「ブッシュ氏主演」で、マイケル・ムーア監督が「他の娯楽映画のように映画館で2時間楽しんでもらいたい」と語ったとプログラムにある「華氏911」を見た。戯画化された大統領の姿には、おかしみや頼りなさ、不安を感じた。しかし、「爆撃で5回葬式を出した」と泣き叫ぶイラクの女性や、人と街が攻撃される映像の連続は、楽しむどころではない。

The film reminded me of a memorable scene from Bob Woodward's ``Plan of Attack,'' a book that portrays sides of Bush's personality that are hard to capture on camera. (The book has been translated into Japanese as ``Kogeki Keikaku'' and is published by Nihon Keizai Shimbunsha.) It is the scene where Bush allows himself to smile in response to Woodward's observation that history is judged by results.

 大統領の、映像にはなりにくい部分を描いた『攻撃計画』(日本経済新聞社)の印象的な場面を思い出した。著者ボブ・ウッドワード氏が「歴史は結果によって評価されます」と言うと、ブッシュ氏は、ほおをゆるめた。

Woodward recalls: ``(Bush) said, `History,' and then he took his hands out of his pockets and kind of shrugged and extended his hands as if this was a long way off. And then he said, `History, we don't know, we'll be all dead.'''

 「歴史か」。大統領は肩をすくめ、ポケットから両手を出すと、腕をひろげて、遠い先のことだというしぐさをした。「わかるものか。そのころには、われわれはみんな死んでいるよ」

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 3(IHT/Asahi: September 4,2004) (09/04)

Wave of support revives a bookstore chain


Novelist Katai Tayama, whose writings include ``Futon'' and ``Inaka Kyoshi'' (Teacher in the countryside), worked as a live-in apprentice to a bookshop owner in Tokyo's Kyobashi district when he was a boy early in the Meiji Era (1868-1912).

In ``Tokyo-no Sanju-nen'' (30 years in Tokyo), a paperback published by Iwanami Shoten, Tayama recalls making the rounds of the shop's customers, carrying loads of books on his back.

``Sometimes, I brought along a notebook or piece of paper listing the titles of books in demand, as I called on each bookshop on the main street.''

09月02日付
■《天声人語》

 「蒲団(ふとん)」や「田舎教師」で知られる田山花袋は、明治前期の少年のころ、東京・京橋の本屋に奉公に出された。山のように本を背負って得意先を回る。「時には必要な書籍の名を書いた紙乃至(ないし)は帳面を持って、通りにある本屋を一軒々々訊(き)いて歩いた」と回顧している(『東京の三十年』岩波文庫)。

After he shifted from selling books to buying and ordering them as a customer, he wrote: ``Maruzen Bookstore's second floor, that cramped and murky second-floor showroom, ... that smiling clerk, those dusty shelves. ... In that second-floor showroom were displayed famous books that in their times had moved Europe.''

 やがて、本を買い、注文する側となってこう書いた。「丸善の二階、あの狭い薄暗い二階(略)莞爾(にこにこ)した番頭、埃(ほこり)だらけの棚(略)その二階には、その時々に欧洲を動かした名高い書籍がやって来て並べて置かれた」

Tayama also reminisced that through Maruzen, the ``current'' of 19th century European thought continually spread its ripples of influence to an isolated island in the Far East.

One might add that not only European thought but also European culture lapped against Japan's shores in wave after wave once the nation's policy of isolation came to an end.

 19世紀の欧州の思潮は、丸善の二階を通して極東の一孤島にも絶えず微(かす)かに波打ちつつあった、とも記す。思潮に限らず、西欧の文化は、開国後に書物の波となって渡来したと言えるだろう。

Even now in the 21st century when I visit a bookshop, I sometimes imagine that I am standing on the shores of a new era. There are racks laden flat with all kinds of books in every genre. While the contents vary from book to book, every volume represents a little wave in the sea of the present era.

 21世紀の今でも、本屋に行くと、いわば時代の波打ち際に立っているかのような思いをすることがある。平台に様々な本が並んでいる。中身は千差万別としても、一冊一冊が、今という時代の小さな波の一つ一つに見える。

Aoyama Book Center (ABC), a bookstore chain with seven outlets in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture, folded in July after it was forced into bankruptcy by creditors. But the chain is now back in business again, thanks to one creditor that decided to support a petition for its rehabilitation, a petition started by customers who collected signatures because they badly missed ABC's unique selection of design- and photography-related books.

 取引先からの破産申し立てを受け、今年7月に、東京、神奈川の7店舗全店が閉店に追い込まれた書店「青山ブックセンター」が、再建へと始動した。デザイン、写真などの分野での個性的な品ぞろえに愛着を持つ客らが署名運動を起こし、取引先の一つが支援に動いた。

The shelves of the Roppongi store, which had been empty since the doors closed in July, were partially refilled Wednesday for a book fair organized to support the store's reopening.

In my mind, I pictured this little wave lapping together with other little waves, all eventually pounding against a broad seashore.

 閉店で空っぽになっていた六本木店の書棚には、昨日、「再開支援フェア」で、一部だけだが本が並んでいた。この小さな波と波が連なり、大きな渚(なぎさ)となってよみがえるさまを思い描いた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 2(IHT/Asahi: September 3,2004) (09/03)

Reporters even swam to get the news out


``You can't stop there. Huh? What? Earthquake?'' The person talking, a reporter at The Asahi Shimbun's head office in Osaka, was on the phone.

But the line went dead. It was around noon on Sept. 1, 1923.

The reporter was taking down an important political report coming in from Tokyo, a story on the formation of incoming Prime Minister Gonbei (or Gonno-hyoe)Yamamoto's new Cabinet.

09月01日付
■《天声人語》

 こんなところで切ったらあかんがな、なに?地震?――そのまま電話は不通になった。1923年9月1日正午ごろ、山本権兵衛内閣の組閣の原稿を東京から電話で受けていた大阪朝日新聞でのことだ。

The entire telephone network went down and the first bits of information on the earthquake came from railway officials.

Based on these reports, the Asahi head office in Osaka put out an extra at 2 p.m. The extra reported that a strong earthquake, with an intensity not experienced in recent years, had struck the Tokai district. Worst hit was the area surrounding Numazu on the Tokaido Highway. It went on to say that special express trains had come to a standstill.

 通信途絶の中、最初の情報は鉄道関係からだった。「東海道沼津付近を中心として近来稀有(けう)の強震」があり、特急が立ち往生した、との号外を出したのが午後2時である。

Asahi reporters attempted to get more information from the military. But military officials, in a role reversal, asked reporters for news. They, too, were having trouble getting in touch with senior officials.

That evening, Asahi staff got news via a wireless report from a ship at anchor in Yokohama Port that a major earthquake had hit. Shortly after 9 p.m., more detailed information came through in another wireless report dispatched from the same boat by the chief of police in Kanagawa Prefecture to the governors of Osaka and Hyogo prefectures and the Asahi head office in Osaka.

 軍は情報を持っているだろう、と取材したが「連絡がつかんで困っている。朝日さん何か情報はないか」。夕方、横浜港に停泊中の船からの無電で、大規模地震であることを知った。さらに詳しい情報を伝えたのは、その船から神奈川県の警察部長が大阪、兵庫県知事と大阪朝日にあてた無電だった。夜9時すぎである。

The Asahi head office in Tokyo had gone up in flames, along with a great number of the city's buildings, as fire swept through the capital in the wake of the temblor. The paper's Tokyo reporters left for Osaka one after another, driven by a sense of mission to report the magnitude of the disaster.

Three reporters shared a car as they headed for Osaka. They swam across the Sagamigawa river in Kanagawa Prefecture because the bridge had been destroyed. After that, they had to walk.

According to one account, when a reporter complained to a colleague, ``You walk too fast,'' the latter retorted, ``We are not on a leisurely trip, the kind of trip made by Yaji-san and Kita-san (the heroes of an Edo Period comic travel tale by Jippensha Ikku). We are faced with a situation that makes it necessary to make haste.''

A number of similar arguments erupted as the journalists, hungry and fatigued, pushed on to get to their destination as soon as possible. They took a train later on, and arrived at the Asahi head office in Osaka on the morning of Sept. 4. The photographs they took from Tokyo were printed in an extra.

 社屋が焼失した東京の記者は惨状を伝えるため次々大阪に向かった。車で出発した3人は、橋が落ちていた相模川を泳いで渡った。あとは徒歩である。「君は速く歩きすぎるよ」「弥次喜多じゃあるまいし、急ぐのは当たり前じゃないか」。空腹と疲れで口論しながらの旅だった。途中から汽車に乗り、4日朝、大阪朝日に着いた。持参した写真は号外に掲載された。

The Great Kanto Earthquake dealt a shock to the media, too. One serious problem that confronted them was that amid the dearth of information, rumors provoked the massacres of Koreans.

On the other hand, the rise of interest in the radio after the temblor led to the start of radio broadcasting two years later.

 関東大震災はメディアの世界にも衝撃を与えた。情報過疎の中、流言から朝鮮人虐殺事件が起きるなど深刻な課題も突きつけられた。震災後、ラジオへの関心が高まり、2年後の放送開始につながった。

Phenomenal advances have been made in communications technology since then. Viewed from the vantage point of today, the difficulties that reporters experienced in obtaining information on the disastrous earthquake may seem almost incredible. Even so, we must not forget that the greatest risk lies in overconfidence.

 通信技術が格段に発達した今日、「隔世の感」との思いもするが、過信こそ最も危険、という教訓を忘れてはならないだろう。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 1(IHT/Asahi: September 2,2004) (09/02)

In Athens, the human face of the Olympics


If the Opening Ceremony is the face of the Olympic Games, then the Closing Ceremony represents the back. Watching the back of the Athens Olympics as the torch went out and darkness enveloped the stadium, I jogged my memory of the Games I had watched or listened to over the last half century.

08月31日付
■《天声人語》

 開会式は、オリンピックの顔であり、閉会式は背中である。聖火が消え、闇に包まれてゆくアテネ五輪の背中を見ながら、この半世紀に見聞きしてきた五輪の記憶をさかのぼった。

The oldest was in Melbourne, 1956. It was late autumn in Japan, and I heard radio broadcasts from the Southern Hemisphere where it was almost summer. The Tokyo Olympics that followed the Rome Olympics were blessed with gorgeous weather, and my impression during the Closing Ceremony was that athletes of all nationalities mingled freely and looked as if they were just one group.

Then came Mexico and the blood-letting at Munich. The Montreal Olympics were overshadowed by the arrest of former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, while boycotts clouded Moscow as well as Los Angeles.

 最古は56年のメルボルン大会だ。日本の晩秋に、季節が逆の半球から届くラジオを聞いた。ローマに次ぐ東京の顔は日本晴れのもとにあり、背中では、各国選手が混じり合って一つになったように見えた。メキシコがあり、血塗られたミュンヘンがあった。田中元首相逮捕でかすんだモントリオールがあり、ボイコットのモスクワ、ロサンゼルスと続く。

I saw Seoul's face in the city itself. Not far from the joyous cheering at the stadium, North Korea remained completely silent. The Berlin Wall collapsed shortly afterward, but the wall between the two Koreas is still solid.

Barcelona is remembered for the swimmer Kyoko Iwasaki's comment to the effect that she, then 14, had never experienced anything like it in her life. The centennial anniversary of the modern Olympic movement was marked at Atlanta, while the last Games of the 20th century were held in Sydney.

 ソウルの顔は、ソウルで見た。歓喜に揺れるスタジアムからそう遠くもない「北の国」は静まりかえっていた。間もなくベルリンの壁は崩れたが朝鮮半島の壁はまだ厚い。岩崎恭子さんの「いままで生きてきた中で……」のバルセロナがあり、近代五輪1世紀のアトランタと20世紀最後のシドニーがあった。

From around the Los Angeles Games, both the face and the back of the five-ring spectacle became flashy and filled with gaudy high-tech gimmicks. As there can be no Olympics without athletes, I wish the Olympic organizers would stop relying excessively on artificial lighting for TV cameras and show us the athletes as flesh-and-blood human beings.

 ロスの頃からか、五輪の顔も背中も、大がかりな機械仕掛けのごてごてしたものになった。主役は人なのだから、人工的な光を多用してテレビ映りを優先するのではなく、生身の人間の姿を追ってもらいたい。

In the Closing Ceremony on Sunday, I thought there were parts that were too contrived.

However, Vanderlei de Lima stood out--the Brazilian marathoner who was obstructed during the race and won only the bronze medal, saying he didn't care (about the obstruction).

With Athens, it appeared that the face as well as the back of the Games moved one step toward something more human, away from all those gaudy high-tech gimmicks.

 昨日の中継では、芝居がかった演出もあったが、マラソンで妨害されても「気にしていない」と銅メダルを受けたデリマ選手の姿が光っていた。アテネでは顔、背中ともに、機械仕掛けから人間への回帰の方へ一歩踏み出したように見えた。

And if another step in that direction could be possible, the Opening Ceremony should be held during the daytime.

On Aug. 8, 2008, I would love to see the face of the Beijing Olympics in bright, continental sunshine.

 もう一歩進めるなら、開会式は昼間に戻す。08年8月8日には、大陸の陽光に輝く北京五輪の顔を見たい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 31(IHT/Asahi: September 1,2004) (09/01)

Kaleidoscope of quotes from bombs to Games


When a month nears its end, it is time to offer quotable quotes:

Kimi Koishi, a well-known manzai comedian, said: ``Seen from the universe, the Earth is just a tiny star. Nobody has the right to abuse it by dropping an atomic bomb.'' Koishi made this remark when he discussed his experience as a bombing victim in Hiroshima before an audience for the first time.

08月28日付
■《天声人語》

 最近の言葉から。「宇宙から見れば、地球は小さな星ですわ。原爆でいじめたらあかん」。漫才師の喜味こいしさんが、大勢の前では初めて、広島での被爆の体験を語った。

Just like the comedian, chanson singer Juliette Greco was born in 1927. In a comment on her 18th concert tour of Japan, she said: ``The most beautiful planet is overflowing with deaths. It is being destroyed. That is part of the reason I don't stop singing. We must continue to raise our voices. We must keep fighting.''

 同じ27年生まれのシャンソン歌手ジュリエット・グレコさんが、18回目の日本公演に臨む。「最も美しい惑星が死であふれ、破壊されかけている。それも、私が歌うのをやめない理由です。叫び続け、闘い続けなければならない」

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw rebellion against the Nazi Germany occupation during World War II. Gerhard Schroeder, the first German chancellor to attend commemorative rites, said in a speech, ``On this spot of Poland's pride and Germany's shame, we hope for reconciliation and peace.''

 ナチス・ドイツに対するワルシャワ蜂起から60年。記念式典に、シュレーダー氏が独首相として初めて出席した。「ポーランド人が誇りに思い、またドイツの恥を示すこの場所から、和解と平和を希望したい」

In Athens, the coach of Iraq's Olympic soccer team responded to a question posed by an American journalist, who asked if he were aware that people around the world were cheering for ``underdog Iraq.''

``Underdog?'' asked Adnan Hamad. ``Soccer has had a long tradition in Iraq. It has always been an important sport.'' His team made it to the semifinals at the Games.

 「弱者だと? イラクでサッカーは長い伝統を持ち、常に大切なスポーツだったのだ」。イラクのアドナン・ハメド監督が、アテネ五輪で決勝トーナメント進出を決めた後の会見で。米記者から「世界中の人々が弱者イラクを応援しているという認識はあるか」と聞かれた。

As usual, this summer's Olympic Games generated a kaleidoscope of comments by athletes and coaches.

``Mizukiii,'' drawled Nobuyuki Fujita, coach of the women's marathon gold medalist, Mizuki Noguchi, when he spoke to her. ``You have done splendidly. It's over now. You can rest as long as you please.''

And an archer spoke from the heart:

``I hope the silver medal I have won will send a message to middle-aged people working in Japan, telling them that age is not an impediment to doing something great,'' said Hiroshi Yamamoto, 41, who finished second in the men's archery event.

 いつもながら、五輪の語録は、言葉の万華鏡でもある。「みずきぃ、よう頑張ったな。みずきぃ、もう終わったからな、ゆっくり休めるぞ」(女子マラソンで金メダルを獲得した野口みずき選手のコーチ藤田信之さん)。「日本の働いている中年の皆さんが、おれもやるぞって思ってもらえたら」(アーチェリーで銀メダルの山本博選手、41歳)

Meanwhile, Kosei Inoue recalled the moment when the judoka was thrown by his opponent for his first defeat after a succession of Olympics and world championships triumphs: ``I went blank in the head,'' he said. ``What happened here doesn't mean my career as a judoka has come to an end. Besides, I have more years to live ahead of me.''

 投げられた瞬間は「真っ白です」と、五輪、世界選手権を通じて初めての敗北を喫した井上康生選手。「これから先の柔道人生はあるし、人生も続く」

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 28(IHT/Asahi: August 31,2004) (08/31)

Are we capable of leaving beautiful ruins?


A festival does not necessarily end on its last day.

The Athens Olympics, which added color to this summer, are now winding down.

Even though some athletes have yet to particpate in competitions, there is an undeniable sense of an imminent end in television coverage of this summer's Games.

08月27日付
■《天声人語》

 祭りの終わりは、祭りの終わりの日に来るのではない。この夏を彩ってきたアテネ五輪が終盤を迎えた。本番はこれからの選手も少なくないが、伝えられてくる画面からは終わりの気配が感じられる。

For instance, I sense it whenever I see TV studio sets, apparently designed to look like ancient ruins.

One set resembles the Pantheon. I sense the end is near for the demolition of those ``brand new ruins.''

It makes me melancholic, thinking about the permanence of genuine historic ruins versus the ephemeral nature of many things, including the Five-Ring festival.

 例えば、テレビスタジオに置かれた廃虚らしい舞台装置だ。パルテノン神殿を模したようなものもある。これらの「新品の廃虚」にも、取り壊しが近いという終わりの予感が漂う。五輪という祭りをも含めた一時のものと、本物の廃虚が持つ永遠性との対比の強まりが、切なさを呼び起こす。

Novelist Yukio Mishima once wrote, ``Greece is the object of my intense love.'' In ``Aporo no Sakazuki'' (Apollo's Cup) published by The Asahi Shimbun, Mishima gushed half a century ago:

``Let my emotion dictate my writing. I finally saw the Acropolis today! I saw the Pantheon! I saw the temple of Zeus!''

 「希臘(ギリシヤ)は私の眷恋(けんれん)の地である」と書いたのは三島由紀夫だった。眷恋とは、恋いこがれることである。「私は自分の筆が躍るに任せよう。私は今日つひにアクロポリスを見た! パルテノンを見た! ゼウスの宮居を見た!」と、約半世紀前に興奮気味に記した(『アポロの杯』朝日新聞社)。

Many ruins have missing features, Mishima noted. The joy of imagining those missing parts intoxicates the intellect rather than one's poetic imagination, he said, and it is an experience that evokes profound emotion because one sees the bare skeleton of something that is universal.

 多くの廃虚には、欠けたところがある。その失われた部分を想像する喜びは、空想の詩というよりは悟性の陶酔であり、普遍的なものの形骸(けいがい)を見る感動だという。

In ``Warera wa Utsukushiki Haikyo wo Mochiuru Daroka'' (Are we capable of leaving beautiful ruins?), published by TBS-Britannica, Isamu Kurita, a writer and culture-and-art critic, imagines the ruins that our contemporary era will bequeath to future generations.

Looking at the artificial forests of soaring urban high-rises, Kurita wonders if posterity will experience the sort of intoxication and emotion evoked by the Pantheon, for example.

``The beginning of a civilization, its flowering and the silence of its end are all to be found in its ruins,'' Kurita observes.

 現代という時代が残す廃虚を思い浮かべる。例えば、大都市にそびえる人工の峰々は、パルテノンを前にした時のような陶酔や感動を、未来の人々に引き起こすのか。『われらは美しき廃墟をもちうるだろうか』(TBSブリタニカ)に、栗田勇さんが書いていた。廃虚には「その文明の始まりと花の盛りとそして終末の沈黙のすべてがある」

Sensing an end approaching stealthily to the Games in the city of sparkling ancient ruins, I thought about the height of our contemporary civilization and its future.

 古代の廃虚の輝く街に忍び寄る終幕の気配に誘われて、現代文明の盛りの時と、行く末とを思った。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 27(IHT/Asahi: August 31,2004) (08/31)

Okinawa still weeps for its children lost at sea


The children aboard the ship were being evacuated from Okinawa to mainland Japan.

Like boisterous kids on a school excursion, the children chattered about the snow they would be able to see in winter. They were also excited about the prospect of seeing real trains and locomotives, things they had seen only in dreams.

But the boat that was bearing them, the Tsushima Maru, was attacked by a U.S. submarine and sank on the night of Aug. 22, 1944. More than 1,400 people died, including 775 schoolchildren.

08月25日付
■《天声人語》

 冬になれば雪を見ることができる。本物の汽車や電車も見られるだろう。沖縄から本土に向かう大勢の子どもたちは修学旅行気分でうきうきしていた。彼らを乗せた対馬丸は1944年8月22日夜、米潜水艦の攻撃で沈没した。学童775人を含む1400人以上が犠牲になった。

A U.S. invasion of Okinawa was a looming prospect in those days, and the idea behind the evacuation of schoolchildren was to take them to a safe place before the expected fighting started.

Also aboard the Tsushima Maru were many families who were evacuating to mainland Japan.

Sixty years since then, a museum to commemorate the tragedy, the Tsushima Maru Memorial Museum, opened on Aug. 22 in Naha, the prefectural capital of Okinawa.

Survivors' accounts of the incident have been newly collected for display at the museum.

 予想される戦火を避けて、安全な場所に移そうとした学童疎開船の悲劇だった。学童のほか家族で疎開する人たちも多数いた。あれから60年、那覇市に今週、対馬丸記念館が開館した。改めて生存者の証言も集められた。

The day the children went aboard the ship was Aug. 21.

Everyone ate what seemed like a sumptuous lunch, according to Kiyoshi Uehara, one of the survivors.

``For many of the schoolchildren, it turned out to be the last lunch prepared by their mothers,'' Uehara says. ``When I think about their misfortune, I can't stop myself from crying.''

The survivor was then an elementary school fourth-grader.

While he drifted at sea aboard a raft for six days, he had hallucinations and was attacked by a shark before reaching Amami-Oshima island, located between Okinawa and mainland Japan.

 乗船した21日には、豪華でおいしそうな弁当を食べたそうだ。「多くの学童達の最後のお母さんの弁当になったかと思うと本当に泣けてきます」というのは、当時小学4年の上原清さんだ。彼はいかだで6日間漂流した。幻覚に襲われたり、サメに襲われたりしながら、奄美大島に漂着した。

Not just survivors but many corpses also washed ashore on the coast of Amami-Oshima. In one village, the number of corpses reached about 90. But the military and the local police imposed a strict rule of silence on the islanders and did not allow them to inform anyone of what they had seen on the beach.

Because of the order, Uehara could not answer questions from his family and other Okinawans when he returned home.

 生存者だけでなく奄美大島には多くの遺体が漂着した。ある村では約90体を数えた。しかし、軍と警察は厳しい箝口令(かんこうれい)で、口外を許さなかった。沖縄に帰った上原さんも、家族らの質問に答えることができなかった。

In December 1997, the Tsushima Maru was found lying on the seabed in the vicinity of Akuseki island, which belongs to Kagoshima Prefecture. The discovery prompted calls from the bereaved families for the salvage of the boat or the recovery of the remains.

The authorities considered the proposals but decided that since the depth of water in the area was 870 meters, it was not technically feasible to implement either of them.

The memorial museum has been built as an alternative.

 97年12月、鹿児島県の悪石(あくせき)島付近の海底で対馬丸が見つかった。遺族から引き揚げや遺骨収集を願う声もあったが、水深870メートルの深海で技術的に難しいとされた。その代わりに、と記念館の建設が進められた。

The items on display include portraits of the victims, some of their personal effects, as well as survivors' accounts of the incident.

The exhibits bring home to visitors the outrageous nature of the incident, in which lively schoolchildren were thrown into the pitch-dark sea and died struggling in the water.

 記念館には遺影や遺品、証言などが集められた。はしゃいでいた子どもたちが真っ暗な海に投げ出され、もがきながら死んでいった悲劇の理不尽さを問いかけている。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 25(IHT/Asahi: August 30,2004) (08/30)

Imaginary museum just added a new Munch


``The Scream'' by Edvard Munch has been stolen again. In a daring stunt, two armed men reportedly yanked the painting from the wall in broad daylight as many stunned visitors watched, and simply walked off with it. This was at the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway.

Back in 1994, another version of ``The Scream'' was stolen from the National Art Museum in Oslo.

08月26日付
■《天声人語》

 ムンクの「叫び」がまた盗難に遭った。大胆な手口だった。武装した2人組が、大勢の鑑賞者の目の前で壁から絵を外し、持ち去ったという。ノルウェー・オスロのムンク美術館でのことだ。94年にはオスロの国立美術館から別の「叫び」が盗まれている。

Let's imagine a museum of stolen masterpieces.

The collection is awesome. This museum has parted with ``The Scream'' it acquired 10 years ago, but another version of the work has just been added. The collection includes Johannes Vermeer's ``The Concert,'' which was stolen from a Boston museum in 1990. This is one of only 30 or so Vermeers that are known to have survived to this day. The museum also has a fine collection of Rembrandts and Picassos.

 盗難品を集めた美術館を思い描いてみる。見事なコレクションである。10年前の「叫び」は回収されたが、別の「叫び」が戻ってきた。世界に30点余りしか残っていないフェルメールの絵もある。ボストンの美術館から盗まれた「合奏」である。レンブラントやピカソも充実している。

There actually exists a catalogue for this lavish but disreputable imaginary museum. Compiled by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), this catalogue is in CD-ROM format and shows about 20,000 stolen works of art and cultural assets from around the world. It is a useful aid to tracking down stolen masterpieces.

 豪華でいかがわしい空想美術館だが、そのカタログは存在する。世界中の盗難美術品や文化財を紹介するCD−ROMである。国際刑事警察機構(ICPO)がつくったもので、約2万点を収めている。盗難品の発見に力を発揮する。

Sometimes, they eventually resurface after being passed around from one underworld art dealer to another. The French call this process ``blanchir,'' which has the connotation of ``to whitewash'' or ``to launder.'' As is obvious from the word, hot items are ``laundered'' each time they change hands to make the identity of stolen objects ambiguous. The Mafia and other organized crime syndicates are known to get involved from time to time.

 盗まれた美術品は、裏社会で転売を重ねて表に出てくることが多い。フランスではブランシール(洗濯)という。転売の過程で、盗難品であることをわからなくするためだ。マフィアなどの組織的ルートが絡むこともあるようだ。

Some stolen masterpieces have come to unfortunate ends. Three years ago, an art thief was arrested in France. The walls of his home were decorated with his loot, and he actually called his home an ``art gallery.'' After his arrest, his distraught mother shredded and then trashed his entire ill-gotten collection. Among the destroyed treasures was a Breugel.

 不幸な運命をたどらされた名画もある。3年前、フランスで逮捕された男は盗んできた絵を自宅に飾り、美術館と称していた。逮捕後、母親が絵を切り刻んで捨ててしまったという。ブリューゲルなどの名作が失われた。

Munch's ``The Scream'' is one of the artist's best-known works. It will be difficult to launder it.

Since it is such a fantastically creepy picture, it is easy to imagine the man's voice crying out in the dark. Perhaps the thieves will decide they would be better off without it.

 ムンクの「叫び」は最もよく知られる絵の一つだ。「洗濯」は難しいだろう。闇に置いても声が聞こえてきそうな不気味な傑作を、犯人ももてあますのではないか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 26(IHT/Asahi: August 27,2004) (08/27)

Shibata pooled her talent to win Olympic gold


In my vision of the Athens Olympics swimming pool, the surface of the blue water is gently stirring under the blue sky, with ripples here and there.

But as I watch the pool on television, the ripples seem more like rough patterns drawn by the wind blowing over the Aegean Sea.

Competing in such a pool may adversely affect swimmers' times, but there is a wild quality about it, a quality lacking in indoor pools.

08月22日付
■《天声人語》

 青い水面が小さく揺れている。さざ波も立っているようだ。青天井の、アテネ五輪のプールである。映像を通してだが、さざ波は、エーゲ海を吹き渡る風の描く文様とも見える。記録への影響はあるのかも知れないが、屋内には無い、野趣が感じられる。

At the Games on Aug. 20, however, all of a sudden, an extra-strong wind disturbed the placid scene.

Ai Shibata, 22, won the women's 800-meter freestyle race, becoming the first Japanese woman to get a gold medal for a freestyle event.

 その五輪プールに突然、大きな風が吹き起こった。自由形では、日本競泳女子史上で初めてになる金メダルを、22歳の柴田亜衣選手が獲得した。

This was a freestyle race, so whereas in other events, the rules are strictly enforced about kicks and strokes, in freestyle races, the swimmers can do as they like. The news that Shibata proved to be the world's best swimmer in a contest allowing participants to swim any way took me by surprise.

Shibata had a mantra to help her win: ``Awatezu, aserazu, akiramezu'' (Don't panic, take it easy, don't give up.'' As she swam, she repeatedly chanted the alliterate mantra to herself.

The swimmers who took part in the 800-meter race covered the distance in just over eight minutes.

In other words, they covered 100 meters in one minute-the speed of a person walking quickly. Shibata's mantra probably was most suited to a competitor putting on this kind of speed.

 自由形があるということは、他の競泳の泳ぎの方には、不自由、つまりは制約があるのだろう。どんな形で泳いでもよいという、一番開けっぴろげな種目で、世界の一番になったことに驚かされた。 「あわてず あせらず あきらめず」。この、頭韻を踏んだような「呪文」を繰り返し念じながら泳いだという。800メートルの距離を8分余で行くということは、1分で100メートルだから、歩行ならば、早足ぐらいか。「呪文」は、そのぐらいのテンポと、よく合いそうだ。

Let me quote a poem to praise Shibata:

``This is true of anyone/ When the thing you have yearned for/ Comes your way/ Just when you are about to decide/ That there is no hope for it/ Your heart goes numb/ It is certainly a delight/ If so, the same thing can be said of me/ I have won something better than gold/ I am just rejoiced.''

This is an ancient love song, taken from a collection of the world's great poems, published by Heibonsha.

But I would like to dedicate it to Shibata as a passage extolling the swimmer who has accomplished something that accords her a greater joy than a piece of gold.

 「誰にせよ、望み焦れていながらも、/もうあきらめかけていた そのものが、/自分のものとなるときは、/心もしびれる それはよろこび。/されば私にとっても同じこと、/黄金にもまさる これはよろこび」(『世界名詩集大成』平凡社)。古代の愛の歌だが、ここでは、あきらめることなく、黄金にも勝る喜びを手にした亜衣さんを讃(たた)える一節としたい。

Since the opening of the Athens Olympics, the swimming pool under the blue sky was an arena of heated competition.

With the swimming events at an end, the focus has shifted to the Olympic Stadium, where track and field events, the highlight of the ``back home'' Olympic Games, were starting in earnest, again under the blue sky.

 開幕以来、熱戦が続いていた青天井のプールから、青空の下のスタジアムへ。陸上競技が本格的に始まり、アテネ・里帰り五輪は、その盛りを迎えた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 22(IHT/Asahi: August 26,2004) (08/26)

Is life like a marathon or a marathon like life?


Life is like a marathon. Or should I say a marathon is like life? It doesn't matter which is which. Both ring true. The race itself may seem monotonous, but it could produce stories with twists and turns, sometimes with high drama.

08月24日付
■《天声人語》

 人生はマラソンに似ている。いや、マラソンは人生に似ている。どちらもあてはまりそうだ。単調な競走のようで、起伏に富んだ物語が秘められている。ときに劇的な事態にも遭遇する。

Sir Arthur Keith, a British anthropologist and anatomist, once observed, ``No two human beings have made, or will ever make, exactly the same journey in life.'' These words made me think of Naoko Takahashi and Mizuki Noguchi.

I kept feeling Takahashi's presence as the ``shadow star'' of the women's marathon at Athens. I am sure many other people who watched the race also wondered how it would have gone had she been in it.

 〈かつて2人の人間がまったく同じ人生の旅をしたことはないし、これからもないだろう〉(A・キース)。この言葉に、高橋尚子と野口みずきの2人を思う。アテネ五輪の女子マラソンにも「影の主役」として高橋が見え隠れした。もし彼女が出場していたらどうなるか。そんな思いを抱きながらレースを見守った人も少なくないだろう。

The severe conditions and the way the race went reminded me of the Sydney Olympics. Takahashi and Noguchi got a big lead halfway into the race, but the advantage gradually shrank, and both won by a mere 10 seconds or so. But Noguchi revealed a toughness that was different from Takahashi's, and broke the spell cast by the ``shadow star.''

 過酷な条件もレース展開もシドニー五輪と似ていた。途中から独走態勢に入ったが、徐々に差を詰められる。10秒ほどの差で高橋も野口も逃げ切った。野口は高橋とはまた違った強靭(きょうじん)さを見せつけ、「影の主役」の呪縛を消し去った。

To quote novelist Yukio Mishima, ``I would never allow anyone to say that life, like driving a car, will turn out successful only if you go about it with absolute caution.''

Noguchi's spurt after the 25-kilometer point was a pure gamble. I got really nervous, fearing she might lose steam. But ultimately, it proved to be the gamble she needed to win.

 〈人生が車の運転と同様に、慎重一点張りで成功するなどと思われてたまるものか〉(三島由紀夫)。25キロすぎからの野口のスパートは賭けだった。失速するのではないか、と見る方もはらはらした。結局、勝利をもたらす賭けだった。

``Life is ... a blank book that is filled word by word by each person,'' said Sakae Osugi, an anarchist. To put it another way: Life is not like a book that has already been written.

Paula Radcliffe, the British marathoner who was the most favored to win-and she herself must have believed it-did not finish the race. The scene of her dropping out was a stark reminder of the unpredictability of any marathon.

 〈人生は……各人がそこへ一文字一文字書いてゆく、白紙の本だ〉(大杉栄)。あらかじめできあがった一冊の本ではない。優勝候補の筆頭で、本人も優勝を意識していたであろうラドクリフの途中棄権の光景は、レースの予測不能をまざまざと教えた。

A marathon is like life. I really thought so as I watched the Athens event. But I also imagined that, for each marathoner, this sport is probably life itself.

 マラソンは人生に似ている。見ている者は改めてそう思う。選手にとってマラソンは、人生そのものかもしれない、との思いが行き来しつつ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 24(IHT/Asahi: August 25,2004) (08/25)

Baseball tourney song signals end of summer


The country's trains were still packed in 1948, three years after Japan's defeat in World War II. Music composer Yuji Koseki took one of those crowded trains and headed for the Kansai region. His destination was the Koshien Baseball Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture.

After his arrival, Koseki stood on the pitcher's mound in the deserted stadium and turned ideas for his new music composition over in his mind.

08月23日付
■《天声人語》

 戦後まもない48年のことだった。作曲家の古関裕而は満員列車に乗って東京から関西に向かった。目的地は甲子園球場である。到着した彼は、人影のない球場のマウンドに立って曲想を練った。

He had been asked to compose the music for a song to be sung at the National Senior High School Baseball Championships, held each summer at the Koshien stadium.

The song was titled ``Eikan-wa Kimi-ni Kagayaku'' (The radiant laurels of victory for you). Koseki later recalled that rhythms stirring within him enabled him to compose the music in one go.

The previous year, Koseki had composed the theme song of a hugely popular radio drama. The theme song became a smash hit, as did the drama, ``Kane-no Naru Oka'' (The hill on which the bell tolls). Lyrics from the song, such as ``Kane-ga narimasu kin kon kan'' (The bell is tolling with a metallic sound), probably still ring in the ears of those who listened to the drama.

The theme song was cheering enough to sweep away some of the stupor in which many people were living, shocked by the nation's defeat in World War II.

Not surprisingly, Koseki composed the music for the baseball song in similarly cheering fashion.

 こうして生まれたのが、全国高校野球選手権大会の大会歌「栄冠は君に輝く」である。体の中からリズムがわき起こり、一気に作曲したという。前年には、彼が作曲したラジオドラマ「鐘の鳴る丘」の主題歌が大ヒットしていた。「鐘が鳴ります キンコンカン」。あの敗戦の虚脱感を吹き払うような明るさは、大会歌にも継がれた。

Much of this song's exhorting tone comes from the lyrics that include lines like this: ``Kumo-wa waki, hikari afurete, ten takaku'' (Despite clouds gathering in the distance, the stadium is full of light, and we play under a clear, blue sky).

The lyrics for the baseball tournament song weren't written by Koseki; they were publicly solicited.

The winning entry came from Michiko Kaga of Ishikawa Prefecture and was chosen from among more than 5,000 entries that were submitted from across the country. Twenty years later, the winner's husband, Daisuke, disclosed that he had in fact written the lyrics but submitted them under his fiancee's name.

 雲はわき 光あふれて 天たかく……。歌詞の力も大きい。全国から公募、5千以上の応募作の中から石川県の加賀道子さんの作品が選ばれていた。夫の大介さんが、自分の作であることを告白するのは20年後のことだ。婚約者だった道子さんの名前で応募した、と。

When the tournament song is broadcast at the opening ceremony of the senior high school baseball championships, one senses a dynamism consistent with midsummer. But when one hears the song at the closing ceremony, one senses that the end of summer is near.

The song sings praises of youth, but it is not all cheer; a sense of loneliness creeps in. Perhaps that's due to an imprint left by the author of the lyrics, who lost his right leg because of injuries he suffered while playing baseball. However, he remained an enthusiastic fan of the sport.

 開会式で聞く大会歌からは、盛夏に高まる躍動感を感じとる。閉会式では、夏の終わりを予感する。青春賛歌といっても、底抜けの明るさだけではない。寂寥感(せきりょうかん)が忍び込む。野球中のけがが原因で右足を失ったが、野球への熱い思いを抱き続けた大介さんの影かもしれない。

Sunday's final was a remarkable batting contest, and the winning team took the champion flag to Hokkaido for the first time in tournament history. (No team from north of the Kanto district has ever won the title before).

But Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) did not wait until the broadcast of the tournament song, signaling the end of summer, as it switched away from the Koshien stadium to the Athens Olympics.

 きのうの決勝戦は、めざましい打撃戦だった。優勝旗が初めて北海道へ、という新しい歴史も刻まれた。しかし夏の終わりを告げる大会歌は、見ていたNHKテレビからは流れなかった。画面は、甲子園球場からアテネ五輪に切り替わった。

I had to be content with humming lines from the song myself. While doing so, I felt the departing summer was different this year.

 あゝ 栄冠は 君に輝く、と口ずさみながら、いつもとは違う夏を実感する。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 23(IHT/Asahi: August 24,2004) (08/24)

Chess fans prefer a draw for Bobby Fischer


``Searching for Bobby Fischer,'' a 1993 U.S. film about a 7-year-old chess prodigy, touches on the legend of chess player Bobby Fischer. A former world champion who once enjoyed a hero's status in his native United States, Fischer simply disappeared from public view in 1975.

08月19日付
■《天声人語》

 10年ほど前、「ボビー・フィッシャーを探して」という題名の米国映画が公開された。チェスに才能を見せる少年を描いた作品だ。題名の人物は、実在するチェスの元世界チャンピオンである。一時は米国の英雄ともてはやされたが、忽然(こつぜん)と姿を消し、もはや伝説の存在に近かった。

Last month, he made global headlines after being detained at Narita Airport for allegedly traveling with an invalid passport. He is being sought by U.S. authorities, too. With extradition a possibility, the Japanese government's handling of the matter has galvanized the global media.

 先月、彼が成田空港で拘束されたという報は世界をめぐった。不法入国をしていた疑いである。米国にとっても彼は「お尋ね者」だった。強制送還されるかどうか、世界のメディアが注視している。

His archrival, Russia's Boris Spassky, lost the world championship to Fischer in 1972 in what was touted the ``chess tournament of the century.''

In a letter of appeal to U.S. President George W. Bush earlier this month, Spassky wrote: ``Arrest me. And put me in the same cell with Bobby Fischer. And give us a chess set.''

 「私を逮捕してボビーと同じ部屋に入れてください。チェスの道具と一緒に」。ブッシュ米大統領あてにそう懇請したのは、宿命のライバルともいえるボリス・スパスキーさんだ。旧ソ連時代の世界チャンピオンである。72年、世紀の対決と騒がれた対局でフィッシャーさんにタイトルを奪われた。

Fischer returned to play a match with Spassky in 1992 in the former Yugoslavia, and Fischer won again. But since the tournament was in violation of international economic sanctions against the former Yugoslavia at the time, the U.S. government not only refused to recognize the match, but decided to indict Fischer. He has since been living as a fugitive from U.S. law-but that has not deterred him from making provocative anti-American statements from time to time to bait the authorities.

 2人は92年に旧ユーゴで再戦、この時もフィッシャーさんが勝った。米国は経済制裁下の旧ユーゴでの対局を容認せず、フィッシャーさんを起訴、以来彼は「逃亡生活」をしていた。その間、反米的発言で米政府を刺激したこともあった。

``Bobby is a tragic personality,'' Spassky continued in his letter to Bush, begging for presidential leniency for his former archrival.

``Absolutely not social. He is not adaptable to everybody's standards of life. ... He is a person who is doing almost everything against himself.''

 「彼は悲劇的な性格の人だ。恐ろしく非社交的で、普通の基準には合わない。いつも自分の損になることばかりしている」。スパスキーさんは宿敵についてそう言いながら寛容な措置を乞(こ)うた。

Chess tournaments often end in a draw. In the days to come, I expect a tug-of-war to continue between Washington and Tokyo over this chess genius. But rather than extradite him, could they not possibly call a draw? I imagine this is the wish of chess fans around the world.

 チェスの試合では引き分けが多い。チェス名人をめぐって今後、日米間の綱引きもあるだろう。強制送還でなく、せめて引き分けに持ち込めないものか。チェスファンの願いだろう。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 19(IHT/Asahi: August 23,2004) (08/23)

The crowning achievement of the Greeks


According to ``The History of Herodotus'' by the Greek historian Herodotus, Persia's King Xerxes was on his Greek expedition when a food shortage caused some Arcadians to defect to the Persian camp. (A Japanese translation has been published in paperback by Iwanami Shoten.)

The defectors were brought before Xerxes

08月20日付
■《天声人語》

 古代ギリシャへ、ペルシャ王クセルクセスが遠征した時のことである。食糧に事欠いて、ペルシャ陣営に脱走してきたアルカディア人たちが、王の前に引き出された。

and interrogated on what the Greeks were up to. ``They are now celebrating their Olympian festival and watching gymnastics and equestrian events,'' the Arcadians answered. And asked what prize was being given to each winner, they replied, ``A crown made of olive branches.''

 ギリシャ側の動向を聴かれて「いまオリュンピア祭を祝っているところで、体育や馬の競技を観覧している」。競技の賞品は何かとの問いに、「オリーブの枝の冠が与えられる」

Hearing this, one Persian soldier blurted out before everyone: ``Oh (Commander) Mardonius, how could you have brought us here to fight, of all enemies, people who compete in games for honor, not for money or material gain.''

 すると、ペルシャ側のひとりが満座の中で言った。「ああマルドニオス(ペルシャの指揮官)よ、そなたはわれらをよりにもよって、何たる人間と戦わせようとしてくれたことか。金品ならぬ栄誉を賭けて競技を行なう人間とは」(ヘロドトス『歴史』岩波文庫)

More than two millennia since, we are now seeing images of olive crowns from Greece every day. Gently framed by those green crowns, all the faces are aglow with life, showing laughter, tears, pride, disappointment at failing to reach the top and elation at finally being crowned.

 2千数百年を経たギリシャの地から、オリーブの冠の像が連日届いている。冠の下には笑顔があり、涙がある。誇らしさも、頂点へあと一歩だった悔しさも、ついに手にした喜びも、緑の冠にやわらかく縁取られ、生き生きとして輝いている。

An image of Nike, the goddess of victory in Greek mythology, graces each Olympic medal. According to ``Chikuma Sekai Bungaku Taikei'' (Chikuma compendium of world literature), the poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote of the statue of Nike of Samothrace at the Louvre Museum in Paris: ``All you have to do is imagine Nike's statue. This statue does not just portray a beautiful young woman going to her lover. It is also an eternal statue that tells us about the expanse and splendor of the winds in Greece.''

 胸のメダルには、ギリシャ神話の勝利の女神・ニケの姿が浮かんでいる。「ニーケーの像を思い起こせば足りる。この彫像は、恋人にむかってすすんでゆくうつくしい娘の動きをわれわれに伝えたというだけではない。それは同時にギリシャの風(かぜ)、その拡がりとかがやかしさとの永遠の像なのだ」。これは、ルーブル美術館にあるサモトラケのニケ像についての、詩人リルケの言葉である(『筑摩世界文学大系』)

Nike with her wings spread, wearing an olive crown, appears as if she is extolling every athlete of every nationality who has given his or her best performance.

 翼を広げたニケと、オリーブの冠。それは、死力を尽くした一人一人を、国籍を超えて讃(たた)えているように見える。

-The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 20(IHT/Asahi: August 21,2004) (08/21)

Time flies with 1/10,000th-of-a-second watch


Light can travel approximately 300,000 kilometers per second in an absolute vacuum. So, what distance can light travel in 1/299,792,458 of a second? The answer is one meter. To put it differently, that is what the meter is, as defined as in terms of the velocity of light.

08月17日付
■《天声人語》

 光は真空中で1秒間に約30万キロの距離を進むことができる。では299792458分の1秒の間に進む距離は? 1メートルである。というより、いまは1メートルを光速によって、そう定義している。

In the past, there existed what is called ``the prototype for the meter.'' It was made of platinum and iridium and kept at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Paris, and it had served as the standard unit of distance since the late 19th century. But since matter is not permanent, this bar shrank and expanded slightly in length over time. In 1960, the wavelength of light became the standard for measuring the meter. In 1983, the standard was changed to the velocity of light.

 かつてはメートル原器というものがあった。白金とイリジウムでつくられた原器はパリの国際度量衡局に保管され、19世紀末以来、距離の基準になってきた。しかし「もの」だから、わずかにせよ伸縮する。1960年に光の波長が基準になり、83年から光速に代わった。

There was a similar pursuit for precision in defining the standard of time. After it became apparent that the traditional standard-the Earth's rotation and revolution around the sun-was not entirely accurate, the atomic clock took over in 1967. Roughly speaking, one second is the time it takes electromagnetic waves from a cesium-133 atom to oscillate 9,192,631,770 times.

 時間についても同じような正確さへの追求が続けられた。基準にしてきた地球の自転、公転では狂いが生じることがわかり、67年から原子時計に代わった。大雑把にいうと、1秒は「セシウム133原子が出す電磁波が91億9263万1770回振動する時間」である。

Most of us can't conceptualize these figures for the measurement of time and light speed.

The measurement of mass, however, still relies on matter. I am talking about the international prototype for the kilogram, a late 19th-century invention. It was made of an alloy of platinum and iridium. Scientists around the world are trying to achieve greater precision, but nothing has been invented yet to replace the existing prototype.

 実感から離れるばかりの基準だが、質量だけはまだ「もの」を頼りにしている。19世紀末につくられた白金とイリジウムの合金製の国際キログラム原器である。より精度の高い基準をめざして各国の研究者が競っているが、まだ決定版はできていない。

Advances have also been made in the world of sports, where precision is important in the measurement of time, distance and weight. For years, the measurement of time relied mainly on stopwatches. Their accuracy went as far as about one-tenth of a second, but precision improved after electronic watches were introduced during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Today, the level of precision is said to be on the order of one-ten thousandth of a second.

 時間、距離、重さの計測が肝要なスポーツの世界でも精度を増してきた。時間計測では、長い間ストップウオッチが主役だった。計れるのは10分の1秒程度までだったが、電子時計が登場した東京五輪ごろから計測は精密さを増した。いまでは1万分の1秒まで可能だという。

Swimmer Kosuke Kitajima won an Olympic gold medal in the men's 100-meter breaststroke by 0.17 seconds. State-of-the-art measuring instruments are right behind Olympic athletes as they test their physical endurance.

 平泳ぎの北島康介選手は0秒17差で金メダルを手にした。肉体の限界に挑む選手たちを、現代技術の粋を集めた計測器が追っている。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 17(IHT/Asahi: August 20,2004) (08/20)

Idle thoughts on Diogenes and the Olympics


The Olympic torch stayed overnight at the Acropolis before being taken to the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Athens.

The flame was lit from the sun's rays in the ancient ruins of Olympia and carried through five continents.

When I looked at the torch illuminating part of the Parthenon, which was built more than 2,000 years ago, it seemed to me that the ring of time, formed since ancient times, had quietly been completed.

08月14日付
■《天声人語》

 アテネ五輪の聖火は、開会式へ運ばれる前にアクロポリスの丘に1泊した。オリンピアで太陽から採火され、五大陸を巡った炎が、2千数百年前に建てられたパルテノン神殿の足元にともる。古代からの大きな時の輪が、そこで静かに閉じるかのように思われた。

I once visited the Acropolis. I saw several stray dogs. One was a big old dog with hair like a lion's. Frothing at the mouth, it was lying in the bush by the path leading to the Parthenon. Perhaps because I saw it on the Acropolis, the dog reminded me of Diogenes, an ancient Greek philosopher who was perhaps the most noted of the Cynics.

 以前、この丘に登った時、野良犬を何匹か見た。パルテノン神殿へ続く道の植え込みには、大型の、ライオンのような毛色の老犬が、口からあぶくを出して伏せていた。場所柄か、老犬はディオゲネスを連想させた。

According to a book, the Cynics were so named because of their ``doglike'' (kynikos in Greek) behavior, or because the founder of the school began his lectures in a gymnasium named cynosarges, or ``white dog.'' (The book ``Girisha-no Shi-to Tetsugaku,'' on Greek poetry and philosophy, has been published by Heibonsha.)

 古代のキュニコス(犬儒)派と呼ばれる哲人の一人だ。学派名は、行状が、犬のごときもの(キュニコス)だったから、あるいは、派の開祖が講義を始めたのがキュノサルゲス(白い犬)という体育場だったからなどとされている(『ギリシアの詩と哲学』平凡社)

Diogenes is said to have lived in a large tub as he pursued the Cynic ideal of living a life free of dependence on possessions and pleasures. There are many anecdotes about him.

Alexander the Great once visited Diogenes and asked what service he could render him. The philosopher, who was sitting in the sun, said, ``Nothing! Just don't stand between me and the sun.''

Struck by the reply, Alexander said to his friends, ``If I were not Alexander, I should wish to be Diogenes.''

 いわば無一物無所有の生活を理想とし、酒だるに住んだというディオゲネスには逸話が多い。ある時、アレクサンドロス大王が彼を訪ねた。大王が「所望するものは」と尋ねると、ひなたぼっこしていた哲人は答えた。「何もいらない! 日陰にならないようにしてくれ」。「余がもしアレクサンドロスでなかったら、ディオゲネスであることを望んだであろう」と大王に言わせたという。

In Athens, stray dogs were rounded up prior to the opening of the 2004 Olympic Games, according to news reports.

I wonder what became of the old dog that reminded me of Diogenes. It may be barking, ``I want nothing! Just put an end promptly to this noisy affair.''

 アテネでは、五輪を前に野良犬が捕獲されたと聞く。老犬ディオゲネスは、どうしているだろう。「何もいらない! この騒ぎだけは早く終わりにしてくれ」とほえているか。

If anecdotes were an Olympic sport, Diogenes, the ``doglike'' Cynic philosopher, would be sure to win a medal.

 五輪に「逸話競技」があったなら、犬の哲人は、メダル確実かも知れない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 14(IHT/Asahi: August 19,2004) (08/19)

In Okinawa, U.S. power still holds sway


News of the nation's defeat in World War II, announced in an imperial radio address on Aug. 15, 1945, was a bolt out of the blue for most Japanese. But that was not the case in Okinawa.

Japan had lost the ground war in Okinawa nearly two months earlier, and the island chain was already under U.S. military rule.

After Japan's surrender, the United States kept Okinawa under its administrative control. The island chain was returned to Japanese administration in 1972, but vast U.S. military bases remain.

08月16日付
■《天声人語》

 大方の日本人にとって、あの8月15日の敗戦の報は突然のことだった。だが沖縄では、2カ月近く前に地上戦に敗れ、既に米軍の支配下にあった。戦後は米国が施政権を行使し、本土復帰後も、広大な米軍基地を抱えている。

Last Friday, a U.S. military helicopter crashed and burst into flames on the campus of Okinawa International University, a school that adjoins Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan.

The impact of the crash sent helicopter parts flying into a neighborhood of densely-built houses. Fortunately, no resident was hurt, but I find the handling of the accident very objectionable.

 沖縄の普天間飛行場に隣接する沖縄国際大学の敷地内に、米軍ヘリコプターが墜落、炎上したのは13日だった。ヘリの部品は住宅密集地に飛び散った。住民にけががなかったのは幸いだが、その後の事故の扱いには首をかしげざるを得ない。

Local Okinawans had long feared an accident like this one. If only to prevent a recurrence, a strict investigation was urgently required to determine the cause of the accident. But as of Sunday, an on-the-spot investigation by the Okinawa prefectural police, a formal probe based on a court order, had not even begun, although two full days had passed since the helicopter went down.

The Okinawa prefectural police, acting in accordance with a law relating to the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, sought the consent of the U.S. military to conduct an on-the-spot investigation. But the latter reportedly failed to answer clearly.

 現地では、事故への懸念は以前からあった。再発を防ぐためにも、緊急、厳密な検証が必要だ。ところが、事故発生時刻からまる2日たっても、令状に基づく県警の現場検証は始まらなかった。県警は、日米地位協定の関係法令に基づき米軍側に検証への同意を求めたが、明確な回答がなかったという。

Foreign Ministry's Parliamentary Secretary Shogo Arai was blocked from crossing U.S. military tape sealing off the site of the crash. ``This is not Iraq,'' he complained. ``The U.S. military may have the right to keep control of the wreckage. But they have no right to regulate access to the site of the crash.''

 「ここはイラクではない。機体の管理権は向こうにあるとしても、現場の管理権は米側にはない」。現地で、米軍が封鎖している区域のテープを越えるのを拒まれた荒井正吾・外務政務官が述べた。

Since it was returned to Japan, it's estimated there have been 40 crashes of U.S. military aircraft on Okinawa. Arai spoke of the government's intention to begin talks soon with Washington to draft general rules on how to keep order at the sites of accidents. But the move strikes me as too belated.

 沖縄での米軍機の墜落事故は、復帰後、40件あるという。政務官は、米軍事故現場の管理の一般的なルール作りについて、近く日米間で協議を始める意向を示したが、あまりに遅すぎないか。

A rise near Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and a hill by Kadena Air Force Base that is called Anpo-no Mieru Oka (military alliance at a glance hill) offer vantage points. When you look down from these elevated places, you are simply overwhelmed by the vastness of the Futenma and Kadena bases.

At the same time, you realize afresh that these bases have direct links with battlefields around the world. For those living near the bases, it is a thought that seizes them afresh every day.

 普天間飛行場の近くの高台や、嘉手納基地脇の「安保の見える丘」に行くと、基地の広さに圧倒される。そして、ここは世界の戦場とつながっているとの思いを新たにする。基地と隣り合う人々は、その思いを、日々新たにさせられている。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 16(IHT/Asahi: August 18,2004) (08/18)

Olive branches wave to still the passions


Athletes take center stage during the Opening Ceremony of each Olympic Games. In Athens, the lighting of the Olympic torch, described by some athletes as ``so exciting that I felt goose flesh,'' was also a highlight. But the role of the olive loomed even larger.

People everywhere were waving olive branches, fluttering as the symbol of the 2004 Olympic Games. Olive branches were also much present in the Opening Ceremony.

08月15日付
■《天声人語》

 オリンピックの開会式の主役は、もちろん選手たちである。その選手たちが「点火の時に鳥肌が立った」と述べた聖火の役回りも大きい。しかし、アテネの開会式では、オリーブの存在が大きく見えた。

The ceremony was apparently organized to encourage everyone to think about the gap between what the olive branch traditionally symbolizes and the world's present reality. The emphasis on the olive branch had a sobering effect.

 無数の小枝となって人々にうち振られ、大会のシンボルとしてはためき、時には中空を漂った。オリーブが象徴するものと、今の世界との間を考えさせるものがあり、式典に落ち着きを与えていた。

Sacred to Greece, the branches of the olive tree have long been a symbol of peace. Based on this fact, the late novelist Kunio Tsuji quoted Thomas Mann's comment at the Louvre museum in his collection of essays, ``Kanran-no Koeda'' (Olive branches), published by Chuokoron-sha.

Tsuji quotes the German novelist as having remarked: ``Oh, how conflicting human beings are! People committed crimes. They behaved like beasts. They continued to kill each other for centuries. And all this time, they kept turning out these works of art.''

 オリーブは、ギリシャでは聖なる樹木であり、その小枝は平和の象徴だった。それを踏まえて、辻邦生さんは『橄欖の小枝』(中央公論社)で、トーマス・マンがルーブル美術館で得た感想を引いている。「やれやれ、人間というものは! 人間は罪を犯した。畜生のように振舞った。何世紀もずっとお互いに殺し合った。――そしてその間に常にこうした芸術作品を作り出したのだ」

According to Tsuji, the Venus de Milo marble statue in the Louvre's collection and other masterpieces of art may seem like the products of the pure artistic spirit, but they are actually born of the same passions that provoke massacres, conquests and violence.

Olive branches, he wrote, are a metaphor for the intensity of an artist's internal struggle. They are also odes to joy sung by the artist to express the purity of the passions.

 精神の純粋結晶のように見えるミロのビーナスなどの傑作も、実は、虐殺や征服や暴力などを呼び出す激情的本能を、同じ母胎にして生まれている――。オリーブの小枝とは、芸術家の内面の闘争の激しさへの暗示であり、激情を浄化した高らかな歌でもあると辻さんは書いた。

The faces of the world's athletes assembled for the Olympic Opening Ceremony in Athens were radiant. An Iraqi delegation marched during the ceremony in stark contrast to the heavy fighting that continues in their homeland.

 国境を越えて、アテネの開会式に集った選手たちの顔は輝いていた。イラクの選手団も行進したが、本国では激しい戦闘が続く。

Sunday marked the 59th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II. It was a day for all of us to look back over the path of conquests and violence that led to the nation's defeat in 1945, questioning why our country strayed onto that path.

Let us also listen to the song of the olive branches, music that pacifies the human passions, the chief source of conflict and strife around the globe.

 今日は、日本の敗戦の日である。征服や暴力の横行によって59年前のあの時へと至った道を、問い返す日だ。地上に争乱をもたらす激情的本能を鎮めるオリーブの小枝の歌に、耳を澄ませたい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 15(IHT/Asahi: August 17,2004) (08/17)

DNA's genetic information all about the past


While a person may not necessarily produce offspring, all people are the offspring of human beings. Well at least, that's the story for now.

07月31日付
■《天声人語》

 人は、必ずしも人の親になるとは限らない。しかし人は皆、人の子である。今のところは。

It's a different picture in the animal and plant kingdoms, where clones that cannot be called offspring are increasing. Even though cloning appears to be confined to animals and plants for now, there have been unconfirmed reports about the birth of human clones.

DNA, the genetic blueprint for living things, has been closely involved with human reproduction from time immemorial-and now it is with cloning.

 動植物まで広げれば、子とは言い難いクローンも増えている。確認はされないが「クローン人間誕生」の報もあった。古来の生殖にもクローンにも、遺伝子の本体であるDNAが深くかかわっている。

Francis Crick, who along with James Watson received a Nobel prize for discovering the structure of DNA, died on July 28. He was 88. The two scientists discovered that DNA, the mysterious conveyor of genetic information to later generations, had the shape of a double spiral, or helix.

 DNAの構造を突き止め、ジェームズ・ワトソン氏と共にノーベル賞を受けたフランシス・クリック氏が88歳で亡くなった。命の情報を伝える神秘的な存在でもあるDNAを、二重になったらせんという明快な形で示した。

Watson's book, ``The Double Helix,'' was a best seller in the 1960s. Much later, Crick wrote his memoirs. How many times, he wrote, did he meet people who professed to be ardent fans and called his book-meaning Jim's book-fascinating? (A Japanese translation of Crick's book has been published by TBS Britannica with the title of ``Atsuki Tankyu-no Hibi,'' meaning days of enthusiastic inquiry.)

The two partners, Crick recalled, had some praiseworthy qualifications as scientists. Both were persistent, he explained, and both had the courage to abandon their views once they found there was no hope for getting them accepted by others.

 ワトソン氏が60年代に著した『二重らせん』はベストセラーになった。クリック氏が回想を書いたのは、ずっと後だ。「熱狂的なファンだと言い、あなたの書いた本は実に面白かったという人にどれだけ会ったことか。もちろん例のジムの本のことだ」(『熱き探究の日々』TBSブリタニカ)。「ジムと私が誉(ほ)めてもらえるところ」は「執拗(しつよう)さと、考え方が受け入れられないとなれば潔くそれを放棄する勇気だろう」

Life scientist Keiko Yanagisawa says in her book that DNA is both the oldest and newest document on Earth, having been continuously scribbled ever since life first came into being on the planet. Her book ``Nijurasen-no Watashi'' (The double helix is what makes me) has been published by Hayakawa Shobo.

``This document offers explanations about `Where did we come from?' and `What are we?' But nothing is written about `Where are we going?' and `What should we be?''' Yanagisawa writes.

 『二重らせんの私』(早川書房)で、生命科学者の柳澤桂子さんが「DNAは地球上に生命が誕生して以来書き継がれている、地球上最古にして最新の古文書である」と書いている。そこには「われわれはどこからきたのか」や「われわれは何か」が書かれているが、「どこへいくのか」や「いかにあるべきか」は、書かれていない。

The double helix may offer a path to the eventual scientific discovery of the origins of life. Nevertheless, the old document can be a potentially tricky one. For this reason, utmost caution is required of those who interpret it or try to use it for other purposes.

 二重らせんは、生命の起源へといざなう回廊かも知れない。しかし、読み方使い方とも慎重に扱いたい古文書でもある。

The Asahi Shimbun, July 31(IHT/Asahi: August 16,2004) (08/16)

Olympics has returned to home, sweet home


Giorgos Seferis became Greece's first winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1963. He said in his acceptance speech: ``I belong to a small country. A rocky promontory in the Mediterranean, it has nothing to distinguish it but the efforts of its people, the sea, and the light of the sun.'' (A Japanese translation of this speech is included in ``Noberu-sho Bungaku Zenshu,'' a collection of literary works by Nobel laureates, published by Shufunotomosha.)

08月13日付
■《天声人語》

 「私は小さな国の人間であります」。ギリシャで初めてノーベル文学賞を受けた詩人、イオルゴス・セフェリスは、63年の受賞の演説で述べた。「私の国は岩の多い地中海に突出した半島でありまして、そこに住む人びとの勤勉さ、海、それに太陽の輝きのほかには、あえてとりあげて誇るものは何一つないのであります」(『ノーベル賞文学全集』主婦の友社)

A poet and also a career diplomat, Seferis was said to have taken refuge in Egypt and other nations during World War II.

In the 19th century, Greece had become independent from centuries of Turkish rule, but its postwar history turned out to be no less checkered. After World War II, monarchy was restored. A military dictatorship took over until Greece adopted the republican form of government.

 彼は外交官でもあり、第二次大戦中はエジプトなどに亡命したという。長いトルコの支配の後、19世紀に独立したギリシャだが、大戦後も王政復古、軍部独裁、共和制と軌跡は複雑だった。

No Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games is ever complete without the Greek national flag, its crisp blue and white stripes symbolizing the cultural climate and history of the land. The blue is said to represent the sea and the sky, and the white, purity and peace.

There are various theories as to why there are nine stripes. According to one theory, it is because Zeus had nine daughters.

Another is that nine is the number of syllables in the Greek words ``freedom or death'' in the victory cry from the time of the Greek war of independence. And this war lasted nine years, hence the nine stripes, and so on.

 オリンピックの開会式で印象深い青と白の横縞(よこじま)が鮮やかな国旗は、風土と歴史を映している。青は海と空、白は純潔と平和を表すという。9条の縞には諸説ある。ギリシャ神話のゼウスの9人の娘を表す、独立戦争での勝ちどきの「自由か死か」が9音節だから、独立戦争が9年続いたから……。

Positioned at a crossroads of Western and Asian civilizations, Greece repeatedly came under foreign domination. On the other hand, its culture, established by ancient city states, spread across national borders.

In ``Howaitoheddo'' (Whitehead) published by Kodansha, the British philosopher Alfred North Whitehead is quoted as noting, ``The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.''

 東西文明のはざまにあるギリシャは、度々異民族に支配された。一方、古代の都市国家で築かれた文化は国境を越えて広まった。「ヨーロッパの哲学の伝統についての最も確かな一般的な特性描写は、それがプラトンについての一連の脚注から成り立っている、ということである」。英国の哲学者の言である(『ホワイトヘッド』講談社)。

A poem by Seferis goes:

``A short distance ahead/ I can see flowering almond trees/ Marble glinting in the sun/ The sea stretching with broken waves.''

 セフェリスは詠(うた)う。「わずか かなたに/花をつけた扁桃の樹が/太陽にきらめく大理石が/くだけた波のひろがる海が みえる」

The five Olympic rings have returned home, a small country where almond trees grow and the sun shines.

 扁桃(アーモンド)の茂る、小さな、そしてきらめく故郷へ、五輪は今、戻りついた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 13(IHT/Asahi: August 14,2004) (08/14)

Chekhov on the Russo-Japanese War


Ivan Bunin was the first Russian novelist to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Though less known in Japan than Leo Tolstoy or Anton Chekhov, Bunin authored such masterpieces as ``A Sunstroke'' and ``Dark Avenues.''

07月24日付
■《天声人語》

 ロシア人の作家で、最初にノーベル文学賞を受けたのは、イワン・ブーニンだった。日本では、トルストイやチェーホフほど知られていないが、小説「日射病」「暗い並木道」などを残した。

``Bunin Sakuhinshu'' (Collected works of Bunin), published by Gunzosha, reconstructs an exchange between Bunin and Chekhov at the end of the 19th century.

Bunin was 25 years old then, and was asked by Chekhov, who was 10 years his senior: ``Are you writing away?''

``Not really,'' Bunin replied. ``That's bad,'' Chekhov remarked irritably in his deep baritone. ``Listen, you've got to keep working. ... Never let your hand remain idle as long as you live.''

 19世紀の末、25歳のブーニンは、10歳上のチェーホフに尋ねられた。「大いに書いていますか?」「いいえ、あまり」。「いけませんね」。不機嫌そうに、低いバリトンでチェーホフは言った。「いいですか、仕事をしなくては……。手を休めないで……生きているかぎり」(『ブーニン作品集』群像社)

Chekhov, who practiced what he preached, worked practically nonstop on his novels and plays until his death 100 years ago in July. He died of tuberculosis in Germany, where he had gone to rest. He was 44.

 生きている限り、ほぼ手を休めずに戯曲や小説を書き続けたチェーホフは、100年前の7月、肺結核のため、ドイツの静養先で他界した。44歳だった。

The Russo-Japanese War broke out in February of that year. In ``Chehofu-no Naka-no Nihon'' (Japan in Chekhov) published by Daiwashobo, Chekhov's wife's younger brother recalls an episode from June in Berlin.

``I am hoping for a Russian victory,'' the brother-in-law said. Chekhov admonished him: ``Never say such a thing. ... Our victory will only reinforce tyranny and probably oppress us more, when we are already gasping for breath. Russia's victory in this war will stop an approaching revolution.''

 この年の2月に、日露戦争が始まった。6月のベルリンでのことを、チェーホフの妻の弟が記している。「ロシア軍の勝利を望む」と言う義弟に、こう答えた。「そんなことは決して言ってはいけません(略)われわれの勝利は、専制を強化し、われわれに息切れさせている圧制を強化することになるではないか。その勝利は、迫りくる革命を阻止することになるだろう」(『チェーホフのなかの日本』大和書房)

The following month, Chekhov was on his deathbed. To his doctor who was at his bedside, Chekhov declared in German: ``I am dying.'' He then accepted a glass of champagne, drank it, lay down calmly and died.

 翌月の臨終の時、傍らの医師に、ドイツ語で「わたしは死ぬ」と告げた。そして、受け取ったシャンパンを飲み、静かに横たわり絶命したという。

According to the Shincho paperback ``Chehofu-no Techo'' (Chekhov's notebook), the notes and unfinished manuscripts he left behind were filled with delightful jokes. ``No Monday never gives up its seat for Tuesday'' went one gem. Another went, ``Anyone can write a play that can be produced.''

 残された手帳や手稿には、小気味よい諧謔(かいぎゃく)が詰まっていた。「火曜日に席を譲らぬ月曜日はなし」「上演できる脚本なら誰にだって書ける」(『チェーホフの手帖』新潮文庫)

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 24(IHT/Asahi: August 13,2004) (08/13)

Burst pipe points a finger at nuclear dangers


Many people probably remember how the nation was rocked in 1976 by the Lockheed payoff scandal that involved former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka.

That same year, the nuclear power reactor in Mihama, Fukui Prefecture, where a serious and sad accident occurred on Monday, was put into operation.

Four workers were killed and seven injured at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Mihama Nuclear Power Plant when they were sprayed by highly pressurized steam that spewed out of a ruptured pipe inside the plant's No. 3 reactor.

08月11日付
■《天声人語》

 1976年、昭和51年といえば、ロッキード事件で世の中が大揺れした年である。この年に運転を始めた関西電力美浜原発3号機(福井県美浜町)で、いたましく、重大な事故が起きた。太い配管が破裂し、噴き出した高温高圧の蒸気を浴びた作業員多数が死傷した。

The ruptured section of the pipe in question should have been inspected regularly. But never once had it been inspected since the reactor was put into operation. The section was not registered on the list of spots to be checked, and for a long time, nobody noticed its absence from the list.

Worse still, even when its absence was noticed last year, the power firm put off a checkup on the section, according to news reports.

 本来点検すべきだった破裂個所は、運転開始以来一度も検査されなかった。点検台帳への登録もれとその見逃しがあり、昨年ようやく気付いた後も、点検は先送りされたなどと報じられた。

Newspaper photographs show a terribly disfigured pipe, broken as if slashed by a sharp-edged knife and curling like a piece of paper.

The pipe material, originally 1 centimeter thick, had been reduced to 1.4 millimeters at the thinnest sections. No wonder that pipe, surely a shining brand-new product when it was installed in 1976, had worn out and was left looking like a brown rag.

 破裂した管の写真がすさまじい。鋭利な刃物で切り裂かれたように破れ、紙のようにめくれた。当初は厚さが1センチあったのに、最も薄いところは1・4ミリにまですり減っていた。76年には、輝くような新品だったのだろうが、今は茶色いぼろ切れのようにやつれ果てている。

What British mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) said in his ``Sceptical Essays'' may be worth recalling in this connection. He wrote: ``Machines are worshipped because they are beautiful, and valued because they confer power; they are hated because they are hideous, and loathed because they impose slavery.'' (A Japanese translation has been published as part of the Kadokawa paperback series.)

 数学者で哲学者でもあったバートランド・ラッセルが書いていた。「機械は、美しいから崇拝され、力を授けるから、尊重され、恐ろしい姿をしているからにくまれ、奴隷状態をおしつけるから、きらわれる」(『懐疑論』角川文庫)。

The ruptured pipe was nearly 60 centimeters in diameter. At different times, it might have struck people as beautiful or as a powerful arm supporting a huge system for nuclear power plant. But it has taken on a fearful aspect now.

 破裂した配管は太さが60センチ近くもあった。ある時は美しく、またある時は、原発という巨大な機械を支える力強い腕のように見えたかも知れない。しかし今は、恐ろしい姿になった。

We should take the ugly transformation as a sign that the pipe is pointing a finger of accusation at Kansai Electric for failing to fulfill its heavy responsibility by neglecting a regular checkup-an important form of dialogue with machinery.

But is that all the disfigured pipe is doing? As I looked at the newspaper photos of the pipe, it seemed to me that the pipe was silently asking the authorities and consumers a question: How much should we rely on nuclear power generation, which always has the potential of running out of control?

 その姿は、点検という機械との大事な対話を怠った関電の重い責任を問うているだけなのだろうか。常に暴走の可能性を秘めた原発と人間とが、今後どう向き合ってゆくのか。行政や、電力を使う側にも向けられた、無言の問いかけに見えた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 11(IHT/Asahi: August 12,2004) (08/12)

Cheaters, liars still going for the Olympic gold


A new Olympic medal design is being introduced for the Athens Games, which start this weekend. The back of the medal is inscribed with lines from Olympic Ode VIII by the ancient Greek poet Pindar: ``O mother of gold-crowned contests, Olympia, queen of truth.''

08月10日付
■《天声人語》

 アテネ五輪が今週末に始まる。今大会で、メダルの図柄が一新された。古代ギリシャの詩人、ピンダロスの祝勝歌の一節が、裏面に刻まれている。

According to ``Shukusho-kashu/ Danpensen'' (Fragmentary selection of victory odes) published by Kyoto University Press, Pindar wrote this ode for Alkimedon of Aegina, the winner of boys' wrestling in 460 B.C.

 「黄金の冠を戴く競技の母オリュンピアよ、/真実の女王よ!」。紀元前460年の、少年レスリングでの勝者アルキメドンを讃(たた)えている(『祝勝歌集/断片選』京都大学学術出版会)。

Victors of ancient Olympic Games were greatly honored, but some were not above cheating. Pausanias, a Greek traveler of the 2nd century A.D., wrote in ``The Description of Greece'' that bronze statues of Zeus were erected in Olympia, funded by fines collected from athletes who had cheated. (The book has been published in Japanese by Ryukeishosha under the title of ``Girisha-ki.'')

Pausanias noted there was even a statue that bore the inscription, ``An Olympic victory is to be won, not by money, but by swiftness of foot and strength of body.''

 古代オリンピックでの優勝は、大きな名誉だったが、不正もあった。紀元2世紀に、旅行家パウサニアスが著した『ギリシア記』(龍渓書舎)には、オリンピアのブロンズのゼウス像が、規則を破った選手たちに科した罰金を基に作られたとある。「財貨でなく足の速さと身体の強さを使ってこそ、オリュンピア祭競技の勝利を見つけることができる」。こんな銘が刻まれた像もあった。

He also recorded a case of bribery committed by a man named Damonicus, whose son was about to fight an opponent named Sosander. Pausanias wrote: ``Damonicus, it is alleged, being exceedingly ambitious that his son should win, bribed the father of Sosander.'' Both fathers were punished, and their fines typically funded a statue-building project.

 パウサニアスは、ダモニコスという男の「暴挙」についても記す。彼の息子と、ソサンドロスとが勝利の冠を賭けて格技を行うことになった。彼は息子を勝たせようと、ソサンドロスの父に財貨を贈った。罰金は、やはり神像になった。

Cheating and dishonesty have continued into the modern Olympics in such forms as doping, blatant commercialism and the use of the Games as a political tool. Were the fines still being used to build statues of gods, I wonder how many there would be by now. There have been reports, too, of vote-buying attempts by Olympic bidders.

 近代オリンピックでも、不正や疑惑は後を絶たない。政治利用や薬物まみれ、商業主義。罰で神像を作るなら、どれほどの数になったことか。「開催地買収」の工作が、続いているかのような報道もあった。

Another Pindar poem goes: ``Creatures of a day, what is a man? What is he not? Mankind is a dream of a shadow.''

Sometimes, eternity dwells in a dream sought in total honesty by finite ``creatures of a day.''

 ピンダロスは、こうも詠(うた)った。「はかない定めの者たちよ! 人とは何か? 人とは何でないのか? 影の見る夢――それが人間なのだ」。はかない限りある身が、企(たくら)みなしに見る夢の中にこそ、永遠が宿ることもある。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 10(IHT/Asahi: August 11,2004) (08/11)

Cartier-Bresson found eternity in moments


Sometimes, words take on a life of their own.

When they involve a famous individual, people often start using those words repeatedly-almost as if they were a set introductory phrase. Aside from becoming fashionable, certain phrases go down in history.

A good example is offered by ``the decisive moment,'' which captures the career of Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the 20th century's leading photographers. He died at age 95 on Aug. 3.

08月07日付
■《天声人語》

 言葉が独り歩きし、ある人物を語るとき枕詞(まくらことば)のように使われるだけでなく、流行語になり、やがては歴史に残る言葉になってしまう。今週、95歳で亡くなった20世紀を代表する写真家アンリ・カルティエブレッソンをめぐる「決定的瞬間」という言葉もその一例だ。

The phrase comes from the English title of a photo album of Cartier-Bresson's work that was put on sale simultaneously in his native France and in the United States in 1952.

The English translator did not use the original French title ``Images a la Sauvette.'' Instead, ``The Decisive Moment'' won out and became famous. It must be said, though, that the title would not have gained its appeal without the impact of the pictures inside.

I would not say it was a case of mistranslation. But an effort to translate the sense of the original French, not its meaning, produced unexpected consequences.

 1952年、母国フランスとアメリカで同時発売された写真集の題名に由来する。原題を離れて英訳が『決定的瞬間』とした瞬間、この言葉は勝手に飛翔(ひしょう)を始めた。もちろん写真の衝撃力があればこそである。誤訳とはいわないが、意訳による思わぬ展開だった。

The English title suggests the book is filled with pictures that captured historic moments. But that is not the case. Small moments are represented, too. For example, one picture shows a man jumping up in a flooded square. A French poet rated the photo as ``a masterpiece that reaches the realm of miracle.''

The unknown man, who presumably disappeared soon in the crowds of Paris, would not have had the slightest idea that the figure he cut in the square would be remembered by history.

 歴史的事件の瞬間をとらえた写真集ではない。フランスの詩人が「まったく奇蹟に類するあの傑作」と評した写真は、水浸しの広場で男がひょいと跳び上がる光景である。やがてパリの雑踏に消えていったであろう無名の男も、自分の姿が歴史に刻み込まれるとは夢にも思わなかっただろう。

Cartier-Bresson himself was a featureless man. For this reason, he could instantly blend into his surroundings and lose himself in a crowd.

As eminent Japanese photographer Ihei Kimura put it, Cartier-Bresson was like a ninja, or one of the spy-warriors in days of old. When he found something or somebody to shoot, he moved quickly and often dropped out of sight. According to other acquaintances, he looked like a hunter stalking prey.

 カルティエブレッソン自身、目立たない風貌(ふうぼう)の人だった。一瞬にして周りに溶け込み、雑踏に紛れ込むことができた。写真家木村伊兵衛は、忍者のようだ、と形容した。被写体を見つけると、動きが速くなり、不意に姿を消したりする。獲物を狙うハンターのようでもあったらしい。

Like a photographer who believed that ``the smallest thing can be a great subject,'' Cartier-Bresson detected something out of the ordinary in everyday life. To put it another way, he was a man who found eternity in fleeting moments.

 「最も些細(ささい)なことが大きな主題になりうる」。そう考える彼は「日常」のなかに「非日常」をかぎつける人だった。「瞬間」に「永遠」を見つける人といってもいいかもしれない。

His pictures tell us that the lives of common people and street corners in the neighborhood are potentially filled with ``decisive moments.''

 彼の写真を見ていると、ささやかな人生も、身近な街角も「決定的瞬間」に満ちていることを思い知らされる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 7(IHT/Asahi: August 10,2004) (08/10)

Filmmaker targets guilt of A-bomb survivors


``I fled. I fled like a coward, not even trying to save my classmates who were badly hurt and dying,'' recalls film director Kazuo Kuroki of his 1945 air raid experience as a mobilized student in ``Watashi no Senso'' (My war), a paperback from Iwanami Junior Shinsho.

08月06日付
■《天声人語》

 「私は逃げたのです。瀕死(ひんし)の重傷を負った学友を救おうともせず、卑怯にも逃げてしまったのです……」。映画監督の黒木和雄さんは、新刊の『私の戦争』(岩波ジュニア新書)で、45年に学徒動員先で空襲に遭った時のことを書いている。

Attacked by a U.S. bomber, all his 10 classmates who were with him at the time were killed almost instantly. Even after the war, Kuroki kept asking himself why he alone had survived. Ten years ago, he saw a play by Hisashi Inoue titled ``Chichi to Kuraseba'' (Living with father).

 米軍機に爆撃され、一緒にいた10人は、ほとんど即死状態だった。なぜ自分だけが生き残ったのか。戦後もこの問いをひきずってきた黒木さんは、10年前に、井上ひさしさんの芝居「父と暮せば」を見た。

Set in Hiroshima three years after the A-bomb, the heroine, Mitsue, is a young woman who shuns happiness because of her sense of guilt for having survived.

She had lost her best friend in the bombing, and she had fled, abandoning her father under a collapsed building to die. Kuroki saw himself in Mitsue.

 原爆投下から3年後の広島で、生き残ったことに負い目を抱き、幸せになるのを拒もうとする娘がいる。親友を失い、建物の下敷きになった父を見捨てて逃げたことを悔いるヒロイン美津江の姿が自分と重なった。

The film version of this play is Kuroki's third work in his ``war requiem'' series. The two earlier works are ``TOMORROW/Ashita'' and ``Utsukushii Natsu Kirishima'' (Beautiful Summer Kirishima).

I saw ``Chichi to Kuraseba'' in Hiroshima, where the film has been released ahead of the rest of Japan except Nagasaki and Tokyo. The Hiroshima dialect of the lines rang fresh to my ears, and I imagined the people sitting around me as probably having spoken it all their lives.

 映画「父と暮せば」は、「TOMORROW/明日」「美しい夏キリシマ」に続く黒木さんの「戦争レクイエム」の3作目だ。東京、長崎と共に先行上映されている広島で、映画を見た。広島弁が、耳に新鮮だ。周りに座っている人たちも、この言葉と共に暮らしてきたのか。

Not only in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but also many people around Japan must have been living with the ``burden'' of having survived that war. Perhaps they feel the fact of their survival was not so much by choice, but more a matter of being forced or destined to survive.

 ここ広島や長崎に限らず、生き残ったことを背負って生きてきた人は多いだろうと思った。生き残ったというより、生き残された、生き残らされた、との思いもあるかもしれない。

Actor Yoshio Harada plays Takezo, Mitsue's father who appears as a somewhat comical ghost. He tells Mitsue (played by Rie Miyazawa), ``You better live my share of life, too.'' Mitsue realizes her father's message means that she must always keep her memories of ``that day'' alive and share them with people.

``Thank you, dad,'' she murmurs. I thought it could be Kuroda's murmur, too.

 ややひょうきんな幽霊となって現れる父、竹造(原田芳雄)が美津江(宮沢りえ)に言う。「わしの分まで生きてちょんだいよォー」。それは、「あの日」を伝えてゆくことかと思い至った娘がつぶやく。「おとったん、ありがとありました」。監督自身のつぶやきとも聞こえた。

-The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 6(IHT/Asahi: August 7,2004) (08/07)

What would silent Lady Liberty cry out now?


In movies and novels, the Statue of Liberty has been covered by sand and washed over by a monster tsunami. This symbol of New York, often plagued by abnormal circumstances, has also been portrayed as a symbol of the destruction of the United States or the world.

08月05日付
■《天声人語》

 地中に埋まってしまったこともあった。大津波をかぶったこともある。いずれも映画や小説の中での出来事だが、異常な事態に襲われるニューヨークの自由の女神像は、米国や地球の破滅の象徴のように描かれてきた。

Nearly three years have passed since tours inside the statue were stopped following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

But the tourists are now back. They can only go inside the pedestal, however, as the rest of the statue remains off-limits. This means the return to normalcy goes only as far as Liberty's feet.

 9・11同時多発テロという異常事態で中断していた女神像の内部観光が、約3年ぶりに再開された。以前は入れた像の本体は閉鎖中で、行けるのは台座までというから、足元までの復活である。

``Jiyu no Megami Monogatari'' (A tale of the Statue of Liberty), published by Shobunsha, reprints a Tokyo Nichinichi Shimbun newspaper article from 1886. It was the year that France gave the statue to America as a symbol of friendship, in commemoration of the centennial anniversary of American independence. The article says: ``Erected on Bedloe's Island in America, this bronze statue of Liberty holding up a torch to the world is the largest of its kind in the world. A solemn ceremony was held on the day it was erected. ... It must have been an amazing sight.''

 「米国ベットロー島に建設したる自由神が、燭を執りて世界を照らす銅像は、世界第一の大像にて、建設当日の式はいと厳(おごそ)かに行われ(略)定めし奇観なるべし」。米国の独立100年を記念し、仏国民から友好の印として贈られた女神像が除幕された1886年の「東京日日新聞」の記事だ(『「自由の女神」物語』晶文社)。

Later, an immigration center was built on nearby Ellis Island. Tens of millions of people have since passed by the statue.

When visiting Liberty, you can read the famous sonnet written by Emma Lazarus, a 19th-century American poet. In part:

``... Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!'' cries she/ With silent lips. ``Give me your tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/ The wretched refuse of your teeming shore;/ Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tost to me ... .''

 やがて像の近くのエリス島に移民の入国を審査する施設が置かれ、千数百万人が通過してゆく。人々がふり仰ぐ女神像の台座には、19世紀の米国の詩人エマ・ラザラスの詩が刻まれた。「もの言わぬ唇もて彼女は叫ぶ……我に委ねよ 汝の岸辺にうち棄てられ/倦み疲れ 貧しさに喘ぎ/自由に焦がれて 群なす汝が民を」

As you take a closer look, you realize her weight is on her left foot. Her right leg is slightly bent at the knee. Her posture is that of someone about to take a step forward. In my mind's eye, I picture those immigrants of the past who literally took their first steps upon landing in America.

 像に近づいてみると、左の足はまっすぐだが右足は違うと分かる。曲げて後ろにけろうとしている。一歩を踏み出そうとする姿が、新天地を目前にした往時の人々の一歩と重なって見えた。

Since 9/11, the United States seems to have taken a big step toward using force to settle problems. I wonder what Liberty is crying out with her silent lips as she continues to watch all this.

 9・11以降、米国は武力に訴える方向に大きく踏み出したかに見える。それを見続ける女神は、もの言わぬ唇で何と叫んでいるのだろうか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 5(IHT/Asahi: August 6,2004) (08/06)

Holidays a must, but not only to beat the heat


One does not have to look at the statistics to know this summer has been almost unbearably hot. Our tortured bodies already know it too well. Publishing the season's highs only aggravates that sense of suffering.

The average temperatures in June and July reached all-time highs, both in the east and west of Japan. The average annual temperature in Tokyo has risen 3 degrees in the past 100 years.

This only goes to show that for health reasons, the importance of taking summer holidays has increased, especially for urban residents.

08月04日付
■《天声人語》

 体感としてはもう十分すぎるほど知っている。それを数字で知らされると、暑いというより、熱い。6、7月の平均気温は、東、西日本とも観測史上最高となった。この100年で東京の年平均気温は3度も上がった。都会では、健康の上からも、夏休みの重みが増している。

In 1889, the 22nd year of the Meiji Era (1868-1912), future novelist Natsume Soseki spent his summer holidays on the Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture. He stayed there with a friend from Aug. 7 to 30.

At the time he was a student at the No. 1 Advanced Middle School in Tokyo. (Schools in those days were commonly numbered.) Although summers toward the end of the 19th century should have been more bearable than now, he was keen to escape the heat of the city.

Just after returning home, Soseki, who was in his 23rd year by the old Japanese age-counting system, wrote a travel essay in classic Chinese. The essay was titled ``Bokusetsu Roku,'' meaning a journal like wood shavings.

 今よりはしのぎやすかったはずの19世紀末、明治22年の夏休みのことである。第一高等中学校の生徒だった数え23歳の夏目漱石は、8月7日から30日まで千葉・房総へ友と旅した。直後に書き上げた紀行文が「木屑録(ぼくせつろく)」である。

Kojiro Yoshikawa, an authority on Chinese literature, considered the essay a masterpiece. The late scholar rated it as probably one of the best pieces of classic Chinese prose written by Japanese during the Meiji Era.

 「余児時誦唐宋数千言喜作為文章……」。すべて漢文で、中国文学者の吉川幸次郎さんは「おそらくは明治時代の漢文としてもっともすぐれたものの一つ」と評したという。

A Japanese translation by essayist Toshio Takashima can be found in his book ``Soseki- no Natsuyasumi'' (Soseki's summer holidays), published by Sakuhokusha. According to the author, Soseki begins his essay in Chinese by saying: ``Since my childhood, I have studied masterpieces from the Tang and Song dynasties of China and picked up several thousand words and phrases from them. Writing in classic Chinese has been what I like to do most.''

I find this paragraph amusing because young Soseki seems to be displaying confidence in his ability to write in classic Chinese.

Concering the ``wood shavings'' title, Takashima, who has a good knowledge of Chinese literature, introduces in his book Soseki's explanation: ``I chose the title deliberately to show that I regarded the essay as crude and, therefore, worthless.''

 『漱石の夏やすみ』(朔北社)で高島俊男さんの独特の訳を読む。「我輩ガキの時分より、唐宋二朝の傑作名篇、よみならつたる数千言、文章つくるをもつとも好んだ」。漱石青年の心意気が見えるようで面白い。「これを木屑と命名せしは、お粗末無用のものたることを、ことさら表明するためである」

About this time 100 years ago, 12-year-old future novelist Akutagawa Ryunosuke was writing his summer holiday diary. In one page, the boy wrote: ``Aug. 3. Cloudy with light rain. No sooner had a few dark ominous clouds appeared in the north sky than the whole vault became overcast with gray clouds. Unable to enjoy swimming, I spent the day reviewing what I had learned at school and reading books.'' (This specimen was taken from a collection of Akutagawa Ryunosuke's unfinished manuscripts, published by Iwanami Shoten.)

 100年前の今頃には、12歳の龍之介君が「暑中休暇中の日誌」を書いていた。「八月三日 曇小雨/いやなまつくろな雲が二つ三つ北の方にあたまを出したと思ふともう空一面にひろがつて まるでうすゞみの様な色になつたので 楽しい水泳も出来ず 復習と読書とにふけりました」(『芥川龍之介未定稿集』岩波書店)

For many students, the summer holidays presumably have yet to start in earnest. What they do this month determines whether they will be able to say in fall that they spent their holidays in a meaningful way.

 これからが、夏休みの盛りだろうか。それぞれの一夏(ひとなつ)が刻まれる季節でもある。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 4(IHT/Asahi: August 5,2004) (08/05)


Wishes for a peaceful Olympics ring hollow


``Orinpikku-to Kindai'' (The Olympics and modern times), a book from Heibonsha, notes that when the first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896, Baron Pierre Coubertin, ``the father of the modern Olympic movement,'' wrote: ``War breaks out when two nations misunderstand each other. Until all prejudices that keep different races apart are completely eliminated, we will never attain peace.''

08月03日付
■《天声人語》

 「戦争が起きるのは、二つの国が互いに相手を誤解するからである。異なった民族同士を隔てている諸々(もろもろ)の偏見が根絶されるまでは、我々は平和を手にすることができないであろう」。近代五輪の父クーベルタンは、アテネで第1回大会が開かれた1896年に、こう書いた(『オリンピックと近代』平凡社)。

In order to attain peace, ``What more effective means are there than to bring together young people from all nations and let them compete on their physical strength and agility in a spirit of friendship?'' Coubertin wrote.

These words reflect his belief as an educator. But according to ``Sekai-wo Utsusu Kagami'' (A mirror that reflects the world), also published by Heibonsha, Coubertin was beginning to worry in 1935 about the Olympics turning into ``a mere show, an inane spectacle.''

 そして平和を手にするために「あらゆる国の若人を定期的に一カ所に集め、肉体の力と敏捷(びんしょう)さとを友好的に競わせることほど有効な手段が、ほかにあろうか」と続ける。教育家らしい思いがにじむが、1935年には大会が「単なる見世物芝居、無意味なスペクタクル」になりかねないと憂慮していた(『世界を映す鏡』平凡社)。

``Zoku Orinpikku Gaishi'' (Sequel to the unofficial Olympic history) from Baseball Magazine Sha quotes him as saying before 1935, ``If there is really such a thing as reincarnation, and if I should be reincarnated some day, I would destroy everything I have created.''

He probably foresaw the Olympics becoming corrupted by money, drugs and politics.

 それ以前に、こう語ったとも伝えられる。「もし輪廻(りんね)というものが実際に存在し、再びこの世に生まれてきたら、わたしは自分が作ったものを全部こわしてしまうであろう」(『続・オリンピック外史』ベースボール・マガジン社)。肥大する五輪が、金や薬や政治にまみれるのを見通していたのか。

The second Olympics to be held in Athens will start soon. Antimissile devices pointed at the sky represent a new facet of what the Games have become. After the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the world experienced 9/11 and two wars. Fighting continues in Iraq. Even if we wanted to declare a cease-fire in keeping with the ancient Olympic tradition, we wouldn't know whom to hold fire against.

 アテネでの2度目の五輪が10日後に迫った。空を仰ぐ迎撃ミサイルは、五輪の新断面だ。シドニー大会以後、世界は9・11テロと二つの戦争を体験した。イラクでは戦闘が続く。古代オリンピックに倣って休戦しようにも、相手が定まらない。

If the Olympics were being held in the United States this year, I wonder if some nations would be hesitant to participate? And I wonder if the United States would have invaded Iraq as it did.

 仮に今年の大会が米国での開催だったとしたら、参加をためらう国はないだろうか。そもそもイラクへの先制攻撃は、あの通りに行われたか。

In hoping the Athens Olympics will proceed without incident, I'm imagining history that differs slightly from reality.

 大会の平穏を願いながら、現実とは少し違った歴史を思い描いた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 3(IHT/Asahi: August 4,2004) (08/04)

It's easy to hit a baseball that doesn't move


``The way I see pitches, the white ball doesn't move. It has become something stationary to me,'' said Tetsuharu Kawakami, one of Japan's greatest baseball players. He made the comment around 1950, when he thought he had discovered the ultimate secret of batting.

08月01日付
■《天声人語》

 白球が止まって見える。打撃の神様といわれた川上哲治が「打撃開眼」をそう表現したのはよく知られる。「開眼」は1950年ごろのことだったという。

Kawakami was known as ``Dageki-no Kamisama'' (God of batting). People still remember the apt way he expressed his sense of discovery.

Ted Williams was unquestionably the king of batting in the American major leagues. His batting average in 1941 topped 0.4. Legend has it that he could read letters on a fast-spinning record's label.

Both anecdotes attest to a superb sense of vision for moving objects.

 米大リーグで打撃の神様といえば、テッド・ウィリアムズだ。41年に打率4割を記録した。彼には回転しているレコードのラベルの文字を読むことができたという伝説が残っている。いずれも、動くものをとらえる視力、動体視力が優れていることを示す話だ。

Asked if the ball were an unmoving object, Ichiro Suzuki, the Seattle Mariners' current superstar, jokingly replied: ``The ball moves around a lot. That's the way it looks to me.''

The question was put to him on the day he got five hits in a single game.

Given that Ichiro's average is continuing to climb, anyone would think he has super powers denied the average player. But he says that isn't so.

 ボールが止まって見えるのでは?との質問に「やたらと動いて見えるよ」と冗談めかして答えたのは大リーグ・マリナーズのイチローだ。1試合5安打を記録した日のことだった。好調が続いていて、何か特別の状態にあるのではないかとの思いにさせられる。しかし彼は「特別ではない」と否定した。

Once, though, while playing in Japan, Ichiro took part in an experiment that tested his vision for moving objects.

Participants were to read aloud 8-digit numbers shown on an electric notice board for one-tenth of a second, with the same process repeated 10 times.

In total, 80 numerical combinations were shown on the board. Whereas other baseball players read about 30 combinations correctly, Ichiro ended up with an outstanding score of 40.

 イチローが日本にいるとき、動体視力を試す実験を受けたことがある。電光掲示板に8ケタの数字を0・1秒間表示し、声を出して読む。それを10回続ける。80個の数字のうちどれだけ読みとるか。他の選手は30個程度だったが、イチローは40個で、抜群の能力を示した。

Different sports require different kinds of vision.

Soccer players are said to be gifted with a kind of vision that enables them to measure distances in an instant. This talent is indispensable to make a sharp through pass.

Having the visual ability to measure distances in an instant is a matter of life and death for racing drivers who compete at speeds of 300 kph.

 サッカーの選手が優れているのは、距離感を瞬時に見てとる深視力だという。鋭いスルーパスには欠かせない。時速300キロで走るレーサーは瞬間視力がよくなければできない。スポーツによって、さまざまな視力が必要とされる。

And what about the fans? August is a busy month for sports. The month's offerings range from the annual senior high school baseball championships at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, to the Olympic Games in Athens. These events entail hot contests, with players and athletes straining not just their muscles but also their eyesight.

Fans are also likely to find themselves abusing their eyes as they try to watch as many events as possible on TV despite the sizzling summer heat.

 8月、高校野球から五輪へ、と熱い闘いが繰り広げられる。死力ならぬ視力をふりしぼっての闘いでもある。観客にとっても、目を酷使する、熱い夏になりそうだ。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 1(IHT/Asahi: August 3,2004) (08/03)

World's children join hands to ban mines


Children from 11 countries will get together in Japan in August for a summit to explore ways to eliminate land mines from the face of the Earth.

The meeting in Shin-Asahi, Shiga Prefecture, will be an international version of the ``Ban Land Mines, All-Japan Children's Summit'' held last year with the support of the town.

07月25日付
■《天声人語》

 来月、日本で「サミット」が開かれる。11カ国の子供たちが滋賀県新旭町に集う「地雷をなくそう!世界こどもサミット」である。昨年この町が開いた「全国サミット」の世界版だ。

Based on an international convention banning antipersonnel mines, known as the Ottawa Treaty, the Japanese government has disposed of land mines in its arsenal by detonating them, mainly in Shin-Asahi.

The other day, I wrote about the global picture of land-mine holdings prior to the signing of the convention in 1997. Japan has since destroyed its land mines, except for those it keeps for research and training purposes. But worldwide, there are still about 200 million mines.

Britain and France are among countries that have halted the production and stockpiling of mines. On the other hand, the United States, China and Russia continue to manufacture them.

 新旭町は、対人地雷禁止条約(オタワ条約)に基づいて政府が進めた地雷の爆破処理の中心になった所だ。先日、条約以前に続いていた地雷を巡る世界の構図に触れたが、日本では、研究・訓練などのために保有しているものを除いて、既に廃棄された。世界では、まだ2億個が保有されているという。英、仏などが生産と保有をやめる一方で、米、中、ロシアなどは作り続けている。

Some mines specifically target children. These are nicknamed ``butterfly mines.'' The way they fall after being dropped from helicopters is said to resemble butterflies, with the speed of their descent being slowed by two protruding blades.

In his book on butterfly mines, Gino Strada, an Italian who has worked as a surgeon in Afghanistan and in other parts of the world, says without exception, those he treated for injuries associated with butterfly mines, were children. (A Japanese translation has been published by Kinokuniya Shoten.)

 子供を狙った地雷があるという。2枚の羽根が付いていて、ヘリコプターから落ちてくる姿がチョウに見える「ちょうちょ地雷」だ。この地雷の被害者は例外なく子供だったと、アフガニスタンなどで外科医として治療に当たったイタリア人、ジーノ・ストラダさんは書いている(『ちょうちょ地雷』紀伊国屋書店)

Teaching children how to keep clear of land mines is an important and necessary part of volunteer work. The Association for Aid and Relief, Japan, a nongovernmental organization that has worked for the relief of Angolan refugees in Zambia, provides such information to both adults and children at churches, marketplaces and even under the shade of mango trees.

 被害にあわないように教える仕事も重要だ。アフリカのザンビアで、アンゴラ難民の支援活動に携わったNGO「難民を助ける会」は、教会や市場、マンゴーの木陰などを「教室」にした。

``What does this look like?''

``Maybe a lunch box.''

In makeshift classrooms, local staff members help children to understand the menace by raising cloth pieces on which the many types of mines are drawn. Instructors also use songs and puppet dramas to get the point across.

 「これ、何に見える?」「お弁当箱かな」。現地のスタッフが様々な形の地雷の絵が描かれた布を掲げる。歌や人形劇も活用した。

Delegates to this month's world summit against land mines in Shin-Asahi will include boys from Angola and Afghanistan who lost their hands or legs after stepping on unexploded mines.

For the participating Japanese children, the important thing is to get acquainted with these young people who are forced to live with the aftereffects of mine explosions.

Taking time out to attend the summit will be an important and commendable way to make their summer holidays significant.

 「世界サミット」には、アンゴラやアフガニスタンなどから、地雷や不発弾で手、足を失った少年も参加する。地雷と共に生きることを強いられた人々と知り合う。そんな夏休みも意義深い。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 25(IHT/Asahi: August 2,2004) (08/02)

Finding inspiration from all walks of life


Below are some quotes I collected during July.

More than four years after volcanic eruptions forced residents of Miyakejima island to evacuate, Mayor Sukeyasu Hirano said the time was ripe for them to return home next February. ``I'm going home to return to the soil of my native island,'' said one islander. ``This is my own decision and I am responsible for it, and I don't care what anyone thinks.''

07月30日付
■《天声人語》

 最近の言葉から。「機は熟した」。噴火による全島避難から約4年。来年2月の帰島を決めた平野祐康・三宅村長が述べた。島民の一人は「島の土になるために帰るんだから、自己責任でも何でもいい」

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell quipped during a televised talk with Indonesian students in Jakarta, ``I'm going to be retired soon and I'll be in a rocking chair watching you guys become the leaders of Indonesia.''

 ジャカルタでの学生との対話で、パウエル米国務長官が語った。「私はもうすぐ引退する。ロッキングチェアに揺られながら、君たちがインドネシアの指導者になるのを眺めるよ」

Takashi Ito, a participant in the Homeless Soccer World Cup in Sweden, noted, ``Having become thoroughly used to my life as a vagrant, I think I need to find myself again by leaving Japan once. I want to find out how homeless people are faring around the world.''

 スウェーデンでのホームレスのサッカー・ワールドカップに出場の伊藤孝司さん。「一度日本から離れることで、ホームレスであることに慣れきった自分を見つめ直したい。世界中のホームレスがどんな暮らしをしているのかを知りたい」

Greece, which had never won a game in European championships, collected this year's Euro 2004 trophy. Coach Otto Rehhagel said: ``Our opponent had superior technique, but we seized our chance. What happened here is that the Greek team wrote soccer history.''

 欧州選手権では、過去一勝もしたことのないギリシャが初優勝。レーハーゲル監督は「技術では相手が上だったが、我々はチャンスをものにした。ギリシャは今日、歴史を作った」

Novelist and Naoki Prize winner Hideo Okuda observed: ``You can't make people laugh if you write with no intention of putting yourself at some risk. Being humorous has to do with how far you are able to expose yourself. There is a difference between explanation and description. You explain what a circle is by simply drawing a circle, whereas you describe a circle when you black out the inside of that circle so people can understand what you mean by a circle.''

 「安全地帯にいて書いても笑ってもらえない。ユーモアとは、どれだけ自分をさらけ出すか」と直木賞受賞の奥田英朗さん。「丸く線を引いて、円だと示すのが説明。丸の余白を塗りつぶして、円と認識させるのが描写です」

Speaking at a memorial ceremony for his daughter Satomi in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, Kyoji Mitarai said: ``Please never forget there are people who love you totally, and they are right near you. Should you ever disappear from their lives-and I don't just mean your passing away-believe me, they are going to be devastated. And please remember always to love your own life and live it out.''  毎日新聞の御手洗(みたらい)恭二さんが、長崎県佐世保市での怜美(さとみ)さんの「お別れの会」であいさつした。「あなたたちのすぐそばに、あなたたちを一番愛している人がいることを忘れないでください。死という形でなくても、あなたたちが目の前からいなくなったら悲しむ人がいることを決して忘れないでください。そして自分の人生を大切に生きてください」

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 30(IHT/Asahi: July 31,2004) (07/31)

Megabankers losing the trust of depositors


``Government is a sacred trust of the people,'' says the Preamble to the Japanese Constitution.

In the Japanese version, the ``trust'' is translated as shintaku. This word is made up of two Chinese characters, which mean ``believe someone and trust something.''

07月29日付
■《天声人語》

 そもそも国政は、国民の厳粛な信託によるものであつて――。憲法の前文にもあるように、本来「信託」とは、信用して委託することである。

Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co., whose name includes that word, filed a complaint with the Tokyo District Court when UFJ Holdings Inc., which had earlier agreed to sell its trust banking operations to Sumitomo, reneged on its promise and proceeded instead with merger talks with another major financial group.

The court ruled in Sumitomo's favor Tuesday and ordered UFJ to halt the merger talks, but further twists and turns are expected.

In any case, this unprecedented dispute seems to reveal how severe the circumstances have become for the banking industry, which has a long history.

 その信託が看板の銀行が、売却の約束をほごにして別の銀行グループと統合するのは許せない。住友信託銀行の、こんな主張を東京地裁が認め、UFJ側に統合交渉の中止を命ずる決定をした。まだ曲折がありそうだが、この異例の争いは、長い歴史を持つこの業界が直面する切羽詰まった状態を示すかのようだ。

When and where did banking originate? While it is difficult to accurately trace its origins, money changers and lenders were already around in ancient times, according to ``Zusetsu Ginko-no Rekishi'' (Illustrated history of banks), published by Hara Shobo.

The book explains that the English word ``bank'' is derived from banco, which is Old Italian for a table for business transactions. There are Renaissance paintings depicting money changers seated at long banco tables.

 銀行業は、いつどこで始まったのか。その起源を正確に解き明かすことは難しいという。古代にも両替や貸し付けはあった。銀行を意味する英語のバンク(bank)は、取引用の台を表すイタリア語のバンコ(banco)に由来する。ルネサンス期には、横長のバンコを前に座る両替商の絵が描かれた(『図説 銀行の歴史』原書房)。

Even today, most Japanese banks have banco or counters, where tellers interface with customers.

But what about executives in the inner sanctum?

 今でも、日本の多くの銀行にはカウンターというバンコがあり、そこを受け持つ行員たちは客と正対している。しかし、奥に居る幹部は正対しているのだろうか。

In ``Meiji Bunka Zenshu'' (Collected works of Meiji culture) edited by Sakuzo Yoshino, there is a list of personality traits that are considered unsuitable for bank executives.

``Those with the following temperaments are unfit for the job,'' it says. ``Indecisive in all matters; invokes authority in vain and is overbearing toward others; quick-tempered and irascible; lacks principle; prone to practice favoritism.''

 吉野作造編集『明治文化全集』の「銀行小言」という一項に、銀行の重役として「左の性質を有するものは其の任に不適当なりとす」とある。「万事に不決断なる性質/漫(みだ)りに威権を挟み他に対して傲慢(ごうまん)なる性質/短気にして事に触れ怒り易(やす)き性質/思操堅固ならざる性質/情実に流れ易き性質」

I would like bank executives to bear in mind that the money they are handling is not only their customers' money, but also money collected from all taxpayers to keep their banks afloat.

 バンコの奥の方には、その銀行の客の金があるだけではなく、国民全体から集めた税金が注入されたことを忘れないでもらいたい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 29(IHT/Asahi: July 30,2004) (07/30)

Kabuki's modern face beams on New Yorkers


``The only thing I missed while I was in New York was that I was unable to watch a Kabuki play,'' wrote novelist Yukio Mishima to his friend Donald Keene, an American scholar of Japanese literature. Mishima made a trip to the United States in 1957.

07月28日付
■《天声人語》

 「ニューヨーク滞在中、たった一つ淋(さび)しい思いをしたのは、歌舞伎が見られないことだった」。1957年に訪米した三島由紀夫が、日本文学研究家で友人のドナルド・キーンさんにそう書き送ったそうだ。

Three years later, in June 1960, a Kabuki production was staged in New York. In Japan, protests were then raging against proposed revisions to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

One reviewer, while referring to the mounting anti-American sentiment in Japan, paid respect to Kabuki as a theater detached from the real world. The reviewer noted that drama knew etiquette better than politics, according to a book compiled by Shochiku Co., ``Kabuki Kaigai Koen-no Kiroku'' (Records of overseas Kabuki productions).

 3年後の60年6月、歌舞伎のニューヨーク公演が実現した。安保闘争のさなかだった。劇評は日本で反米感情が高まっていることに触れながら、「現実界から身を退(ひ)いた演劇」の歌舞伎には敬意を表した。「演劇は政治よりも礼法を心得ているからである」と(『歌舞伎海外公演の記録』松竹株式会社)。

As the times have changed since then, so have Kabuki actors gone through a generational change.

In my opinion, the Kabuki shows in New York that ended the other day probably made it clear to the audience that Kabuki was not necessarily a drama detached from the times.

For years, actor Nakamura Kankuro, who led the cast in New York, has been attempting to restore Kabuki as contemporary entertainment through the introduction of unorthodox presentation styles, saying that Kabuki was a contemporary form of entertainment during the Edo Period (1603-1867).

 時代が移り、世代も代わった。先日終わった中村勘九郎さんらのニューヨーク公演は、歌舞伎が時代から必ずしも身を退いていないことを伝えたことだろう。「江戸時代には現代演劇だった」が持論の勘九郎さんは、斬新な演出を取り入れて、歌舞伎を現代によみがえらせようとしてきた。

As the actor had probably hoped for, American reviewers took note of the Kabuki's unexpected modernity.

Commenting on the Heisei Nakamura-za company's ``Summer Festival: A Mirror of Osaka,'' one wrote, ``It turns out to provide thrills that `Spider-Man 2' can't deliver.''

Another wrote: ``One of the stereotypes we have of Japan is of a culture split between a relentless urge to modernize and a rigorous devotion to maintain tradition. Kankuro shows the two sensibilities are not necessarily at war.''

 現地の劇評も「映画『スパイダーマン2』にはできないスリルを提供」「伝統と現代とが両立しうることを示した」と意外な新しさに注目した。

Incidentally, a collection of artworks from New York's Museum of Modern Art is currently on display at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo's fashionable Roppongi district.

The exhibition is titled ``Modern Means.''

When I stood in front of Pablo Picasso's ``The Kitchen,'' a work of beautifully drawn lines, I was struck anew by his mastery of sketching, a painter's basic skill.

Dancing is to Kabuki actors what sketching is painters. Future Kabuki stars have to start rigorous training in dancing as children. Dancing lessons are what gives them strong bodies and graceful body lines when they perform on the stage. This is also a way to hand down the Kabuki traditions to later generations.

 折しも東京では、ニューヨーク近代美術館の所蔵品を集めた「モダンってなに?」が催されている(六本木・森美術館)。描線が美しいピカソの「台所」の前で、彼がいかに基本の素描にすぐれていたかを改めて思った。歌舞伎俳優でいえば、素描は舞踊にあたるだろう。幼いときから厳しく仕込まれ、強靭(きょうじん)な肉体としなやかな体の線がつくられる。伝統の継承法でもある。

Cultural traditions and modern times of the East and the West have dramatically converged this summer in New York and Tokyo.

 ニューヨークと東京で、東西文化の伝統と現代とが、鮮やかに交差した。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 28(IHT/Asahi: July 29,2004) (07/29)

Love it or hate it, no excuse for broccoli fibs


Although some people detest broccoli for its ``grassy'' flavor, it is one of the commonest vegetables today, having rapidly won the acceptance of nutrition- and health-conscious consumers.

This is not a phenomenon peculiar to Japan. In the United States, too, the world's leading broccoli producer, consumption is said to have grown more than fivefold in 30 years.

07月27日付
■《天声人語》

 青臭さで嫌われることがある。しかし、栄養豊富で体にいい食べ物としてブロッコリーは急速に行き渡り、身近な野菜になった。日本だけではない。主産地の米国でも消費量は30年間で5倍以上になったという。

People still remember how broccoli hit the headlines after former U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush declared in the spring of 1990: ``I do not like broccoli. And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid.... And I'm president of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli.''

He reportedly had the vegetable banished from the galley of Air Force One.

 物議を醸したこともある。ブッシュ元米大統領のブロッコリー排撃発言はいまも語り継がれる。「子どものころからブロッコリーが嫌いだった。大統領になったのだから、もう食べない」。90年春のことだ。大統領専用機の食事からブロッコリー排除を命じたという。

Angry broccoli growers sent 10 tons of their produce to Washington, D.C. The First Lady tried to defuse the situation by saying she loved broccoli. A U.S. newspaper article said, ``It is not unreasonable to expect that by 1992, the next presidential election year, Americans may not want a leader who doesn't eat broccoli.''

All this brouhaha rocked the political community at that time.

 怒った農家がワシントンに10トンのブロッコリーを送りつけた。夫人が「私はブロッコリー好き」と、なだめ役にまわった。「ブロッコリーを食べない指導者を米国民は大統領に選ぶだろうか」と再選への影響を論じる記事も出た。米政界を揺るがしたブロッコリー事件である。

Like cabbage, broccoli belongs to the Brassica family of vegetables. Only the florets are eaten, and they are harvested before they bloom.

The vegetable was first imported into Japan in the late 19th century, but soon disappeared from the market. It was only when people became health-conscious 20 or 30 years ago that broccoli made its dramatic comeback.

 キャベツなどと同じアブラナ科の植物で、食べるのはつぼみの部分だ。花開く前に摘み取ってしまう。日本には明治初期に輸入されたが、やがて姿を消した。急伸長は、健康志向が高まったここ20〜30年のことだろう。

A semi-public company in the city of Osaka was found to have been falsifying the origins of imported broccoli, labeling Chinese broccoli as American.

I am sick and tired of this food-related cheating. Bush tried to weasel out of his gaffe by explaining that he was tired of broccoli because his mother had made him eat it too often. But there is no excuse for the fraud committed by the Osaka company.

 大阪市の第三セクターが米国産ブロッコリーに中国産を混ぜて偽装していたことが発覚した。うんざりさせられる食品業界の「類似犯」である。ブッシュ氏は後に「母に食べさせられすぎて飽きてしまった」と取り繕ったそうだが、偽装問題は取り繕いようがない。

I hope this scam will not turn people away from this vegetable. The poetry section of The Asahi Shimbun recently ran this poem:

``The small child tells me on the phone/ He ate broccoli/ I do not skimp on my words of praise.''

 ブロッコリー離れを促しはしないか、と心配にもなってくる。〈ブロッコリー食べたと電話をかけくれば幼をほめる言葉惜しまず〉(朝日歌壇から)

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 27(IHT/Asahi: July 28,2004) (07/28)

200 million yen gift is a mystery jackpot for Fukui


A recent entry in The Asahi Shimbun's column for senryu (satirical or humorous poems) challenged the ``Takara Kuji,'' Japan's official get-rich-quick lottery, to ``produce heart-pounding news once in a while.''

As if on cue, on the day the poem appeared in the column, a winning lottery ticket worth 200 million yen was delivered by express mail to the Fukui prefectural government.

Officials there have been working hard to help the victims of the recent torrential rains. The anonymous gift must have caused the hearts of the Fukui officials to pound.

07月26日付
■《天声人語》

 〈宝くじたまにはドキドキさせてみろ〉。この句が「朝日川柳」に載った日、速達で届けられたあのくじは、福井県庁の人々をドキドキさせていたのかも知れない。

Coming from one person, the sum of 200 million yen is amazingly generous.

As for the anonymity, I think the donor probably did the right thing. Winning 200 million yen could change anyone's life. The donor presumably feared that the person's life would change without fail if his or her real name became known.

 2億円には驚くが、匿名というやり方には、そうするしかないのかとも思う。2億円が当たっただけでも人生は変わりかねないが、実名が出たら確実に変わってしまうと考えたのか。

There are some clues, however, about the sender. In the letter accompanying the ticket, the donor used an old-fashioned Chinese character for ``2.'' Consequently, the official who opened the envelope reportedly thought the donor might be someone older. To be sure, the composed tone of the letter seems to endorse that view.

Only the gist of the letter was made public. The disclosed passages do not offer any insight into the character of the donor. Even so, a certain sentiment is detectable in the passage that reads: ``If I could render some assistance to those who unfortunately suffered damage (from torrential rains), I would be most pleased. Luckily, the lottery ticket I bought has been blessed with good fortune.''

 「弐」億とあるので、開封した人は、年配の人かなと想像したそうだ。確かに、文面には落ち着きがある。発表された要旨だけでは、手紙の主の息づかいまでは分からないが、次のくだりには、ある心情が感じられた。「不幸にも被害を受けられた方々に少しでも援助になれば幸いと思い幸運に恵まれた宝くじ……」。

In Japanese, this passage contains a string of Chinese characters for ``ko'' (good fortune)-combined with a negative prefix to express ``misfortune.'' The heavy mix of these characters makes the passage sound something like the old saying that goes: In your life, good fortune and bad alternate like colored cords twisted into a rope.

In my opinion, the donor is not the kind of person who would go berserk with elation at winning 200 million yen. Instead, the person most probably calmly accepted the news of the extreme good fortune.

Even so, we know little about the anonymous donor, not even whether the person was a man or a woman. It also remains to be seen if more than a single donor were involved.

 不幸、幸い、幸運と、幸の字が続く。吉と凶のように、幸不幸もあざなえる縄、というような響きがある。2億円が当たって狂喜乱舞したというよりは、その極端な幸運に対しても落ち着いて対処した人ではないかとも思う。しかし、性別も、1人なのかどうかも分からない。

Fukui Prefecture once set up a lottery named ``Fukufuku Kuji,'' according to the book ``Me-de Miru Takara Kuji Sanjunen Shi'' (A visual history of 30 years of Takara Kuji).

The lottery was organized just after the end of World War II. The name Fukufuku put together ``fuku,'' the first of two Japanese words reading ``fukko'' or postwar reconstruction, and the name of Fukui Prefecture, which issued tickets. The top prize was 1,000 yen.

 『目で見る宝くじ30年史』という本には「ふくふく籖(くじ)」というのが載っている。終戦直後、復興の復と県名を重ねて命名し、福井県が発行した。「一等奨金一千円」とあった。

Volunteers have rushed to Fukui in large numbers in the wake of the heavy rains and are now helping to remove mud from houses. A flood victim was quoted in the Fukui edition of The Asahi Shimbun as saying: ``I couldn't muster the spirit to remove the mud by myself. When volunteers are around, I can muster it.''

The role of volunteers is not limited to putting in manual labor. Their presence itself serves as an instant morale booster for victims.

 復旧を目指す福井県には、ボランティアの人たちが大勢駆けつけて、家屋からの泥のかきだしなどを手伝っている。被災者の声が福井版に出ていた。「自力では片づける気力も出ないが、ボランティアが来てくれると元気が出る」。人を即座に力づける、人の力も頼もしい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 26(IHT/Asahi: July 27,2004) (07/27)

Aged and infirm most vulnerable in disasters


Houses in suburban Tokyo were successively swept into the rain-swollen Tamagawa river 30 years ago after sections of the river banks collapsed.

A book compiled by the Komae municipal government refreshes my memory by providing a detailed account of the disaster that struck Komae in September of that year.

According to the book, the disaster unfolded this way:

``The house of Ozaki (name of owner) collapsed at 12:19 a.m. It was swept into the river at 12:45 a.m. The house of Nasu followed suit at 12:46 a.m. The house of Kimura was similarly lost at 1:09 a.m. The floodwater also carried the house of Suzuki into the river at 1:13 a.m....''

Torrential rains brought on by a typhoon had swollen the river marking the boundary between Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture and strained its banks to a dangerous extent. The municipal government's account is appropriately titled ``Tamagawa Teibo Kekkai Kiroku'' (Record of the breach of the Tamagawa river's banks).

07月17日付
■《天声人語》

 午前0時19分尾崎宅倒壊。45分流失。46分那須宅流失。1時9分木村宅流失。13分鈴木宅流失……。30年前の9月、台風による豪雨で、東京・多摩川の堤防が切れた。次々に家が流されてゆく様が、今も記憶に残る。地元の狛江(こまえ)市が後に編んだ「多摩川堤防決壊記録」の一節だ。

Recently, river banks also broke in Niigata and Fukushima prefectures as a consequence of torrential rains. As in Komae, houses along rivers were destroyed and swept into muddy streams.

Houses in Komae were swept away even as people watched the swollen Tamagawa river. In some Niigata areas, water is said to have suddenly overflowed banks and inundated houses like tsunami.

 今回の「新潟・福島豪雨」でも、堤防が決壊して川沿いの家が壊され、流された。多摩川での流失は、増水した川を人々が注視する中で起きた。新潟では、水は堤防から一気にあふれ、津波のように人家を襲ったという。

The elderly mainly accounted for the list of victims. Not just in areas stricken along rivers. Some of these people died in their homes or in the living quarters of their apartments. A bedridden man drowned because his wife could not find help to carry him upstairs.

The heartening news is that two brothers, tying their bodies to a police officer by rope, managed to reach their isolated home and rescue their mother from her flooded room where she had been receiving nursing care.

 川沿いの被害地に限らず、犠牲は、高齢者に集中している。自宅やアパートの居間で亡くなっていた人たちがいる。寝たきりの男性が、妻だけでは2階まで移しきれず水死した。一方で、兄弟と警官がロープで体を結び合いながら、孤立した自宅へたどりつき、水が浸入した部屋の介護ベッドにいた母を救出した。

What is most important to prevent disasters is to make sure that accurate warnings are promptly issued and disseminated without fail. Follow-up checks must be made to see how people were warned of heavy rains and how they were urged to evacuate.

One new lesson from the disasters in Niigata and Fukushima prefectures is that more attention should be paid to the question of rescuing those who cannot properly respond to warnings-the elderly, the sick, the disabled, and others especially vulnerable in time of disaster.

 防災で肝要なのは、迅速・的確な警報の発令と確実な伝達だ。大雨警報や避難勧告がどうなされたのかを、よく検証する必要がある。そして今回の災害は、警報などが届いたとしても思うようには動けない人々の救出という課題を示した。高齢者や病人、障害者など、災害弱者への対応だ。

Slightly less than 20 percent of those who did not evacuate themselves when torrential rains hit Aichi Prefecture and other prefectures of the Tokai region four years ago could not leave their homes because they had with them someone who fell under this category, according to a book published by Hokuju Shuppan, ``Saigai Joho-to Shakai Shinri'' (Disaster information and social psychology).

 4年前、東海豪雨が愛知県などを襲った。この時、避難をしなかった人のうち2割弱は「災害弱者の存在」のために家を離れなかった(『災害情報と社会心理』北樹出版)。

The effect of being vulnerable to disaster goes beyond being most liable to damage. Such people tend to find themselves in a weak position when they live in a shelter and during the process of reconstruction, the authors of the book say.

 災害弱者は、災害を受けやすいだけではなく、避難所の生活や、復興の過程でも、立場は弱くなりがちだという。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 17(IHT/Asahi: July 26,2004) (07/26)

What would true Filipino hero say about Iraq?


A banner emblazoned with the words ``Welcome home, Angelo!'' greeted Angelo dela Cruz upon his safe return to the Philippines. The nation accorded this former hostage in Iraq a veritable hero's welcome.

07月23日付
■《天声人語》

 「ウエルカム・ホーム(お帰りなさい)アンヘロ!」。そう書かれた横断幕が、フィリピンに帰り着いた元人質のデラクルスさんを迎えた。まるで、英雄の帰還のような歓迎ぶりだったという。

Actually, ``present-day heroes'' is what President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo calls all Filipinos who work overseas, of whom dela Cruz is one. They number about 8 million, and the money they send home is equivalent to about 10 percent of the nation's gross domestic product. These people and their families must mean so much to Filipino society in a way we in Japan would probably never quite comprehend.

But Arroyo's decision to pull out all Filipino soldiers from Iraq has been severely criticized by the United States and its allies.

 実際、アロヨ大統領は、デラクルスさんのような海外への出稼ぎ者を「現代の英雄」と呼ぶ。その送金が国内総生産の約1割にもなる800万人と、家族の重みは、日本では計り知れないほど大きいのだろう。しかし今回の撤退は米国などから厳しい批判を浴びた。

The New York Times editorialized on July 19: ``To the dismay of her allies, and possibly even of the kidnappers, President Arroyo is hastening to comply.''

The mainstream Filipino media are said to be objecting strongly to any opinion that is critical of Arroyo. And nobody seems to even dream of questioning the ``responsibility'' of dela Cruz, the latest ``present-day hero.''

 「アロヨ大統領が急いでテロ組織の要求に応じたことに、同盟諸国はもちろん誘拐犯らさえもうろたえただろう」。ニューヨーク・タイムズ紙の皮肉を込めた社説だ。フィリピンでは、これらの批判を批判する論調が目立つという。「現代の英雄」には「自己責任論」も無縁のようだ。

Speaking of heroes, Jose Rizal is known as the ``national hero of the Philippines.'' During the colonial era in the 19th century, Rizal spoke out against Spain and was executed at age 35. A doctor by profession, he wrote novels and poems.

 同じ「英雄」でも、「国民的英雄」あるいは「民族の英雄」と呼ばれているのがホセ・リサールだ。植民地だった19世紀、言論活動でスペインを批判し、35歳で処刑される。医師で小説や詩を残した。

Before facing the firing squad, Rizal was said to have entrusted to his sister a manuscript of a poem he had written. Titled ``My Last Farewell,'' it contains these lines: ``And if on my cross a bird should be seen/ Let it trill there its hymn of peace to my ashes.'' (The poem's Japanese translation can be found in ``Hose Risaru to Nihon'' (Jose Rizal and Japan) published by Apollon-sha.)

 「私の墓の十字架の上に一羽の小鳥のくるのを見たら/平和のうたをうたわしめよ」。銃殺の前に妹に託したという「最後の訣別」の一節だ(『ホセ・リサールと日本』アポロン社)。

Advised to leave his homeland at one point, Rizal visited Japan in 1889. He stayed for less than two months, but was apparently deeply inspired by Japan and its people. His bust, erected in memory of his sojourn in Japan, is in Tokyo's Hibiya Park.

I wish I could ask Rizal what he thinks of his nation's relationship with the United States and the pullout of troops from Iraq.

 国外退去勧告を受けて、明治21年に日本に立ち寄ったことがある。2カ月足らずだったが、日本と日本人に、深く共感したという。その滞在を記念した胸像が、東京・日比谷公園にある。祖国と米国との間柄や、この撤退について、尋ねてみたい気がする。

-The Asahi Shimbun, July 23(IHT/Asahi: July 24,2004) (07/24)

We must maintain ban on weapons exports


``Jirai Mondai Handobukku'' (Land-mines handbook), published by Jiyu Kokuminsha, contains a map of the world highlighting nations where land mines are buried. The areas, shown by spotted patterns, seem to leap out of the map, stretching from Indochina to the Middle East, and from the Balkans to parts of Africa.

The handbook also estimates there are more than 100 million land mines buried around the world, killing or maiming someone every 20 minutes.

07月22日付
■《天声人語》

 地雷が埋められている国を、まだら模様で表した世界地図を開く。インドシナから中東、バルカン、アフリカに至る範囲で、まだらが目立つ。世界の埋蔵地雷は1億個以上で、20分に1人が死傷しているとの推計もあった(『地雷問題ハンドブック』自由国民社)。

Another map shows nations that manufacture land mines but do not have any buried in their territories. They include the United States, Britain, France and Japan.

Japanese-made land mines are kept by the Self-Defense Forces. These explosives have never been taken out of Japan so they have never killed nor maimed anyone in any country to date.

 次に地雷を製造する国を塗り分けた地図を見る。地雷は埋まっていないが製造している国が分かる。目につくのは米、英、仏、そして日本だ。しかし、日本製の地雷は自衛隊が保有している。これまで海を渡っておらず、どの国の人も殺傷していない。

Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) has called for a review of the nation's three principles of arms exports that effectively ban all exports of weaponry.

Amid today's rapid advances in equipment and defense technology, the business group is concerned that the Japanese defense industry could fall behind its global competitors.

But while it is one thing to try to keep Japanese industry as competitive as possible, I do not see the defense industry in the same light.

 日本の武器輸出を事実上、全面的に禁止してきた「武器輸出3原則」の見直しを求める提言を、日本経団連がまとめた。提言は国際的に装備・技術の高度化が進む中での立ち遅れなどを懸念する。しかし一般の産業と同じように立ち遅れを問題にしていいのだろうか。

Assuming the nation does do away with the arms exports ban, makers will obviously rush ahead to develop new technologies and seek to expand their market through aggressive sales activities abroad. What will be the result?

When dealing in weapons, wouldn't hoping to expand business be tantamount to wishing for situations in which weapons are used?

 仮に、輸出が可能になったとする。新技術の開発に努め販路拡張を図るだろう。外国への売り込みも激しくなされる。それは何を意味するのか。兵器産業の場合、取引拡大を望むことは、兵器が使われる状態を望むことにならないか。

Anthony Sampson, an internationally acknowledged British journalist, writes about a global network of ``merchants of death'' in ``The Arms Bazaar.'' (The book has been published in Japanese under the title of ``Heiki Shijo'' by TBS-Britannica.)

Sampson observes that arms dealers and manufacturers have been advised by their governments to pretend that sophisticated weapons are not really meant for killing people. But, Sampson notes, dealers and governments alike are fully aware that they have to defend themselves with secrecy and hypocrisy.

 国際ジャーナリスト、A・サンプソンは『兵器市場』(TBSブリタニカ)で「死の商人」の世界ネットワークを描き出した。「政府は、彼ら(兵器商人や製造者)に対し……高度な兵器の目的は本当は人殺しではないと繕えばいいと勧めてきた。しかし、兵器商人も政府も、秘密と欺瞞(ぎまん)で自己防衛しなければならない事を悟っている」

Japan must never be allowed to become like them.

 こんな日本に、してはなるまい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 22(IHT/Asahi: July 23,2004) (07/23)

Eccentric Kleiber enraptured concertgoers


Once during one of his concerts, an earthquake caused the audience to flee. But, with his back to the rows of unoccupied seats, the conductor continued to swing his baton, according to ``Wave 31'' music magazine.

When he finished, he complained that the orchestra was upset. He was told of the quake, and he said he had not noticed it at all.

07月21日付
■《天声人語》

 地震が起きて聴衆は避難し、客席は空っぽになった。指揮者はタクトを振り続けた。演奏が終わった後、彼は、オーケストラに落ち着きがなかった、と不満をもらした。地震のことを説明されると、「全然気がつかなかった」(雑誌『WAVE』31)

The conductor who behaved this way was Carlos Kleiber, who died last week. He left behind a number of anecdotes like this.

His concerts sold out immediately. Those who were lucky enough to get tickets would spend days full of expectation and anxiety. The conductor had a reputation for last-minute cancellations, so they could not put away their concern until he actually climbed onto the podium. Even then, there was no telling what would happen.

But his performances swept away the audiences. The ecstasies seemed to be a reward for those who had waited in anxiety.

 亡くなった指揮者カルロス・クライバーはそうした逸話や伝説に事欠かない。彼の公演はすぐ完売になる。幸いにも切符を手にした人は、期待と不安の日々を送る。キャンセル常習犯の彼のこと、指揮台に立つまでは安心できない。立ってからも何が起きるかわからない。しかし不安の対価は、かけがえのない陶酔である。

Kleiber and La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra Milan made a performance tour of Japan in 1988. In a review, music critic Hidekazu Yoshida said: ``There was a pastel-like exquisiteness to the way Kleiber conducted the orchestra. ... He is a conductor who does not hesitate to create a drama out of sound, using, if necessary, colors as brilliant as those used by Rubens and Renoir.''

Yoshida had been known as a critic who applied high standards of judgment to musicians and their performances. But he praised Kleiber to the skies and said, ``With heartfelt respect for the conductor, I say `Bravo' to his performance.''

 「パステル画のように精妙で……必要とあればルーベンスやルノワールにも劣らない極彩色で音の劇を描き出すことも辞さない」(吉田秀和)。88年にミラノ・スカラ座と来日したときの評である。あの厳しい批評家が「満腔(まんこう)の敬意とブラヴォーを」と記した。

Famed conductor Herbert von Karayan apparently saw Kleiber as a man who liked to stay home. Von Karayan, who was nicknamed ``The Emperor,'' is said to have mocked Kleiber as someone who ``does not appear at a concert until his refrigerator is empty.'' I wonder if von Karayan knew that Kleiber was the man who would fill the void created by the passing of the Emperor.

 帝王といわれたカラヤンは「冷蔵庫が空っぽにならないと演奏会に出てこない」とクライバーの「出無精」をからかったそうだ。帝王亡き後の空白を埋めてくれる人、とわかっていたのかどうか。

The road traveled by Kleiber in his 74 years was by no means flat.

His father, Erich Kleiber, was also a famous conductor. He hated Nazi Germany, and moved his family to South America in the 1930s. The family returned to Europe after the end of World War II.

But Erich opposed his son becoming a musician. As a result, Carlos Kleiber had to use an assumed name when he started out conducting.

 74年の生涯は平坦(へいたん)ではなかった。父エーリッヒは高名な指揮者だったが、ナチスドイツを嫌って30年代、南米に移住した。戦後ヨーロッパに戻ったが、息子が音楽家になるのには反対した。最初は偽名で指揮台に立ったほどだった。

Kleiber was presumably attached to Japan. He often visited this country despite his aversion to flying.

He was also averse to being interviewed, so I have never had a chance to see him in person.

 飛行機嫌いなのに、たびたび来日した。日本が好きだったのだろう。大のインタビュー嫌いだから、ついに尋ねる機会はなかった。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 21(IHT/Asahi: July 22,2004) (07/22)

Whitewashing the truth about onsen waters


In the paperback ``Shinpen Minakami Kiko'' (New Minakami travel note) published by Iwanami Shoten, the poet Wakayama Bokusui describes the Shirahone ``onsen'' hot springs in Nagano Prefecture during the Taisho Era (1912-1926): Deep down in a valley of sheer cliffs, there is a pocket clustered with seven buildings-four inns, two ``soba'' noodle restaurants and one small store selling ``senbei'' rice crackers, picture postcards and other things.

The poet goes on to note the spa waters were probably the most effective in Japan for easing gastrointestinal disorders.

07月20日付
■《天声人語》

 「険(けわ)しい崖下の渓間(たにま)に、宿屋が四軒、蕎麦(そば)屋が二軒、煎餅(せんべい)や絵葉書などを売る小店が一軒、都合(つごう)ただ七軒の家が一握りの狭い処に建って」いる。若山牧水が描く大正時代の長野県・白骨温泉である。胃腸にきくこと、おそらく日本一だろう、とも書いた(『新編みなかみ紀行』岩波文庫)。

But it has come to light that the operators of the public open-air baths at Shirahone have been using additives to maintain the spa's famed milky white waters. According to reports, the waters began to lose their trademark color nearly 10 years ago. Afraid this could mar Shirahone's image, the operators turned to bath products that would bring back the lost color.

The additive they chose was bath powder made from hot water at Kusatsu, another famous hot spring resort.

 乳白色の名湯として評判高かった白骨温泉で、公共野天風呂などに入浴剤が使われていたことがわかった。10年近く前から色が薄くなったため、イメージを壊さないように、と思いついたという。草津温泉の入浴剤が使われた。

Luxuriating in hot, milky-white water is certainly what makes an onsen experience so good. It makes you feel as if you have been warmed to the bones.

However, the color alone should not be so important. You could dip into an onsen of clear water and still feel the same rush of pleasure coursing through your body. It's all a matter of personal taste.

 確かに乳白色の温泉にはいかにも温泉らしい魅力がある。体の芯まで温まるような気にさせる。しかし、温泉は色だけではない。透明な湯でも、つかったとたんに体の芯にまで響くような温泉もあり、人によって好みも違う。

Erwin von Baelz, a German doctor who spent some time in Japan during the Meiji Era (1868-1912), apparently understood the Japanese obsession with onsen and gave it his blessing. He frequently stayed at Hakone, another famed hot spring resort, but he raved about Kusatsu when it came to the waters' salutary effects.

Baelz wrote in his diary, which has been translated into Japanese as ``Berutsu-no Nikki,'' another paperback published by Iwanami Shoten, that he wanted to build a sanitarium at Kusatsu because of its unrivaled hot springs and perfect mountain air and drinking water.

 日本人の温泉好きに、いわばお墨付きを与えたのが、明治の日本に滞在したドイツ人医師ベルツだった。よく滞在したのは箱根の温泉だったが、効能では草津を絶賛した。「無比の温泉」で「最上の山の空気、理想的な飲料水」があり、自分でも療養所をつくろうと思った(『ベルツの日記』岩波文庫)。

Kusatsu is still producing abundant spa waters. But there are other hot spring resorts like Shirahone, where the quality of the waters is changing and the fountains are running low to the dismay of onsen operators. I have heard of not-so-few cases where they are reusing their precious limited hot water supply.

Those operators will have to be honest about what they are doing, or they stand to eventually turn off all onsen lovers.

 草津はいまも豊かな湧出(ゆうしゅつ)量を誇り、安泰だが、白骨のように泉質が変化したり、湧出量が減ったりして、困っている温泉も多いようだ。何度も同じ湯を使う循環式も少なくないと聞く。その辺をごまかさないで表示しないと、温泉への不信が募るだろう。

Poet Bokusui was at Kusatsu when he wrote:

``Boiling spa waters gush out/ The invalids gather together to stir and cool the waters/ Wanting to tame them.''

 牧水は草津温泉で詠んだ。〈たぎり沸(わ)くいで湯のたぎりしづめむと病人(やまうど)つどひ揉めりその湯を〉

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 20(IHT/Asahi: July 21,2004) (07/21)

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